Articles | Volume 11, issue 15
Research article
08 Aug 2011
Research article |  | 08 Aug 2011

European source and sink areas of CO2 retrieved from Lagrangian transport model interpretation of combined O2 and CO2 measurements at the high alpine research station Jungfraujoch

C. Uglietti, M. Leuenberger, and D. Brunner

Abstract. The University of Bern monitors carbon dioxide (CO2) and oxygen (O2) at the High Altitude Research Station Jungfraujoch since the year 2000 by means of flasks sampling and since 2005 using a continuous in situ measurement system. This study investigates the transport of CO2 and O2 towards Jungfraujoch using backward Lagrangian Particle Dispersion Model (LPDM) simulations and utilizes CO2 and O2 signatures to classify air masses. By investigating the simulated transport patterns associated with distinct CO2 concentrations it is possible to decipher different source and sink areas over Europe. The highest CO2 concentrations, for example, were observed in winter during pollution episodes when air was transported from Northeastern Europe towards the Alps, or during south Foehn events with rapid uplift of polluted air from Northern Italy, as demonstrated in two case studies.

To study the importance of air-sea exchange for variations in O2 concentrations at Jungfraujoch the correlation between CO2 and APO (Atmospheric Potential Oxygen) deviations from a seasonally varying background was analyzed. Anomalously high APO concentrations were clearly associated with air masses originating from the Atlantic Ocean, whereas low APO concentrations were found in air masses advected either from the east from the Eurasian continent in summer, or from the Eastern Mediterranean in winter. Those air masses with low APO in summer were also strongly depleted in CO2 suggesting a combination of CO2 uptake by vegetation and O2 uptake by dry summer soils. Other subsets of points in the APO-CO2 scatter plot investigated with respect to air mass origin included CO2 and APO background values and points with regular APO but anomalous CO2 concentrations. Background values were associated with free tropospheric air masses with little contact with the boundary layer during the last few days, while high or low CO2 concentrations reflect the various levels of influence of anthropogenic emissions and the biosphere. The pronounced cycles of CO2 and O2 exchanges with the biosphere and the ocean cause clusters of points and lead to a seasonal pattern.

Final-revised paper