Articles | Volume 16, issue 15
Research article
12 Aug 2016
Research article |  | 12 Aug 2016

Carbon monoxide climatology derived from the trajectory mapping of global MOZAIC-IAGOS data

Mohammed K. Osman, David W. Tarasick, Jane Liu, Omid Moeini, Valerie Thouret, Vitali E. Fioletov, Mark Parrington, and Philippe Nédélec

Abstract. A three-dimensional gridded climatology of carbon monoxide (CO) has been developed by trajectory mapping of global MOZAIC-IAGOS in situ measurements from commercial aircraft data. CO measurements made during aircraft ascent and descent, comprising nearly 41 200 profiles at 148 airports worldwide from December 2001 to December 2012, are used. Forward and backward trajectories are calculated from meteorological reanalysis data in order to map the CO measurements to other locations and so to fill in the spatial domain. This domain-filling technique employs 15 800 000 calculated trajectories to map otherwise sparse MOZAIC-IAGOS data into a quasi-global field. The resulting trajectory-mapped CO data set is archived monthly from 2001 to 2012 on a grid of 5° longitude  ×  5° latitude  ×  1 km altitude, from the surface to 14 km altitude.

The mapping product has been carefully evaluated, firstly by comparing maps constructed using only forward trajectories and using only backward trajectories. The two methods show similar global CO distribution patterns. The magnitude of their differences is most commonly 10 % or less and found to be less than 30 % for almost all cases. Secondly, the method has been validated by comparing profiles for individual airports with those produced by the mapping method when data from that site are excluded. While there are larger differences below 2 km, the two methods agree very well between 2 and 10 km with the magnitude of biases within 20 %. Finally, the mapping product is compared with global MOZAIC-IAGOS cruise-level data, which were not included in the trajectory-mapped data set, and with independent data from the NOAA aircraft flask sampling program. The trajectory-mapped MOZAIC-IAGOS CO values show generally good agreement with both independent data sets.

Maps are also compared with version 6 data from the Measurements Of Pollution In The Troposphere (MOPITT) satellite instrument. Both data sets clearly show major regional CO sources such as biomass burning in Central and southern Africa and anthropogenic emissions in eastern China. While the maps show similar features and patterns, and relative biases are small in the lowermost troposphere, we find differences of  ∼  20 % in CO volume mixing ratios between 500 and 300 hPa. These upper-tropospheric biases are not related to the mapping procedure, as almost identical differences are found with the original in situ MOZAIC-IAGOS data. The total CO trajectory-mapped MOZAIC-IAGOS column is also higher than the MOPITT CO total column by 12–16 %.

The data set shows the seasonal CO cycle over different latitude bands and altitude ranges as well as long-term trends over different latitude bands. We observe a decline in CO over the northern hemispheric extratropics and the tropics consistent with that reported by previous studies using other data sources.

We anticipate use of the trajectory-mapped MOZAIC-IAGOS CO data set as an a priori climatology for satellite retrieval and for air quality model validation and initialization.

Short summary
A new 3-D gridded climatology of CO has been developed by trajectory mapping of global MOZAIC-IAGOS in situ aircraft measurements. The dataset is archived monthly from 2001–2012 on a grid of 5 × 5deg × 1 km altitude. The dataset facilitates comparison of different years and seasons and offers insight into the global variation and trends of CO. Major CO sources are clearly visible. The dataset can be used as an a priori data for satellite retrieval and for air quality model validation and initialization.
Final-revised paper