Error correlation between CO2 and CO as constraint for CO2 flux inversions using satellite data

H. Wang, D. J. Jacob, M. Kopacz, D. B. A. Jones, P. Suntharalingam, J. A. Fisher, R. Nassar, S. Pawson, J. E. Nielsen

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25 Citations (Scopus)


Inverse modeling of CO2 satellite observations to better quantify carbon surface fluxes requires a forward model such as a chemical transport model (CTM) to relate the fluxes to the observed column concentrations. Model transport error is an important source of observational error. We investigate the potential of using CO satellite observations as additional constraints in a joint CO2-CO inversion to improve CO 2 flux estimates, by exploiting the CTM transport error correlations between CO2 and CO. We estimate the error correlation globally and for different seasons by a paired-model method (comparing CTM simulations of CO2 and CO columns using different assimilated meteorological data sets for the same meteorological year) and a paired-forecast method (comparing 48- vs. 24-h CTM forecasts of CO2 and CO columns for the same forecast time). We find strong positive and negative error correlations (r 2>0.5) between CO2 and CO columns over much of the world throughout the year, and strong consistency between different methods to estimate the error correlation. Application of the averaging kernels used in the retrieval for thermal IR CO measurements weakens the correlation coefficients by 15% on average (mostly due to variability in the averaging kernels) but preserves the large-scale correlation structure. Results from a testbed inverse modeling application show that CO2-CO error correlations can indeed significantly reduce uncertainty on surface carbon fluxes in a joint CO 2-CO inversion vs. a CO2-only inversion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7313–7323
Number of pages11
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2009

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