Articles | Volume 10, issue 2
19 Jan 2010
 | 19 Jan 2010

Increasing synoptic scale variability in atmospheric CO2 at Hateruma Island associated with increasing East-Asian emissions

Y. Tohjima, H. Mukai, S. Hashimoto, and P. K. Patra

Abstract. In-situ observations of atmospheric CO2 and CH4 at Hateruma Island (24.05° N, 123.80° E, 47 m a.s.l), Japan shows large synoptic scale variations during a 6-month period from November to April, when the sampled air is predominantly of continental origin due to the Asian winter monsoon. Synoptic scale variations are extracted from the daily averaged values for the years between 1996 and 2007, along with the annual standard deviations (σCO2 and σCH4 for CO2 and CH4, respectively) for the relevant 6-month period. During this 6-month period the absolute mixing ratios of CO2 and CH4 at Hateruma are also elevated compared to those at two sites in the central North Pacific Ocean. The temporal change in σCO2 shows a systematic increase over the 12-year period, with elevated excursions in 1998 and 2003; there is no clear increase in σCH4. We also find that the σCO2CH4 ratio increases gradually from 1996 to 2002 and rapidly after 2002 without any extreme deviations that characterised σCO2. The σCO2CH4 ratio correlates closely with the recent rapid increase in fossil carbon emissions from China, as indicated in the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC) database. This methodology can be applied to multiple chemical tracers of sufficient lifetime, for tracking overall changes in regional emissions.

Final-revised paper