Evaluation of UTLS carbon monoxide simulations in GMI and GEOS-Chem chemical transport models using Aura MLS observations
Abstract. This study evaluates the distribution and variation of carbon monoxide (CO) in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UTLS) during 2004–2012 as simulated by two chemical transport models, using the latest version of Aura Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) observations. The simulated spatial distributions, temporal variations and vertical transport of CO in the UTLS region are compared with those observed by MLS. We also investigate the impact of surface emissions and deep convection on CO concentrations in the UTLS over different regions, using both model simulations and MLS observations. Global Modeling Initiative (GMI) and GEOS-Chem simulations of UTLS CO both show similar spatial distributions to observations. The global mean CO values simulated by both models agree with MLS observations at 215 and 147 hPa, but are significantly underestimated by more than 40 % at 100 hPa. In addition, the models underestimate the peak CO values by up to 70 % at 100 hPa, 60 % at 147 hPa and 40 % at 215 hPa, with GEOS-Chem generally simulating more CO at 100 hPa and less CO at 215 hPa than GMI. The seasonal distributions of CO simulated by both models are in better agreement with MLS in the Southern Hemisphere (SH) than in the Northern Hemisphere (NH), with disagreements between model and observations over enhanced CO regions such as southern Africa. The simulated vertical transport of CO shows better agreement with MLS in the tropics and the SH subtropics than the NH subtropics. We also examine regional variations in the relationships among surface CO emission, convection and UTLS CO concentrations. The two models exhibit emission–convection–CO relationships similar to those observed by MLS over the tropics and some regions with enhanced UTLS CO.