Articles | Volume 14, issue 9
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 14, 4617–4641, 2014
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 14, 4617–4641, 2014

Research article 13 May 2014

Research article | 13 May 2014

Global and regional emissions estimates for N2O

E. Saikawa1,2, R. G. Prinn1, E. Dlugokencky3, K. Ishijima4, G. S. Dutton3,5, B. D. Hall3, R. Langenfelds6, Y. Tohjima7, T. Machida7, M. Manizza8, M. Rigby9, S. O'Doherty9, P. K. Patra4, C. M. Harth8, R. F. Weiss8, P. B. Krummel6, M. van der Schoot6, P. J. Fraser6, L. P. Steele6, S. Aoki10, T. Nakazawa10, and J. W. Elkins3 E. Saikawa et al.
  • 1Center for Global Change Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA
  • 2Department of Environmental Sciences, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA
  • 3Earth System Research Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 4Frontier Research Center for Global Change, Yokohama, Japan
  • 5Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 6Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, Aspendale, Victoria, Australia
  • 7National Institute for Environmental Studies, Tsukuba, Japan
  • 8Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California, USA
  • 9School of Chemistry, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  • 10Center for Atmospheric and Oceanic Studies, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan

Abstract. We present a comprehensive estimate of nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions using observations and models from 1995 to 2008. High-frequency records of tropospheric N2O are available from measurements at Cape Grim, Tasmania; Cape Matatula, American Samoa; Ragged Point, Barbados; Mace Head, Ireland; and at Trinidad Head, California using the Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment (AGAGE) instrumentation and calibrations. The Global Monitoring Division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Earth System Research Laboratory (NOAA/ESRL) has also collected discrete air samples in flasks and in situ measurements from remote sites across the globe and analyzed them for a suite of species including N2O. In addition to these major networks, we include in situ and aircraft measurements from the National Institute of Environmental Studies (NIES) and flask measurements from the Tohoku University and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) networks. All measurements show increasing atmospheric mole fractions of N2O, with a varying growth rate of 0.1–0.7% per year, resulting in a 7.4% increase in the background atmospheric mole fraction between 1979 and 2011. Using existing emission inventories as well as bottom-up process modeling results, we first create globally gridded a priori N2O emissions over the 37 years since 1975. We then use the three-dimensional chemical transport model, Model for Ozone and Related Chemical Tracers version 4 (MOZART v4), and a Bayesian inverse method to estimate global as well as regional annual emissions for five source sectors from 13 regions in the world. This is the first time that all of these measurements from multiple networks have been combined to determine emissions. Our inversion indicates that global and regional N2O emissions have an increasing trend between 1995 and 2008. Despite large uncertainties, a significant increase is seen from the Asian agricultural sector in recent years, most likely due to an increase in the use of nitrogenous fertilizers, as has been suggested by previous studies.

Final-revised paper