Source attribution using FLEXPART and carbon monoxide emission inventories: SOFT-IO version 1.0
Abstract. Since 1994, the In-service Aircraft for a Global Observing System (IAGOS) program has produced in situ measurements of the atmospheric composition during more than 51 000 commercial flights. In order to help analyze these observations and understand the processes driving the observed concentration distribution and variability, we developed the SOFT-IO tool to quantify source–receptor links for all measured data. Based on the FLEXPART particle dispersion model (Stohl et al., 2005), SOFT-IO simulates the contributions of anthropogenic and biomass burning emissions from the ECCAD emission inventory database for all locations and times corresponding to the measured carbon monoxide mixing ratios along each IAGOS flight. Contributions are simulated from emissions occurring during the last 20 days before an observation, separating individual contributions from the different source regions. The main goal is to supply added-value products to the IAGOS database by evincing the geographical origin and emission sources driving the CO enhancements observed in the troposphere and lower stratosphere. This requires a good match between observed and modeled CO enhancements. Indeed, SOFT-IO detects more than 95 % of the observed CO anomalies over most of the regions sampled by IAGOS in the troposphere. In the majority of cases, SOFT-IO simulates CO pollution plumes with biases lower than 10–15 ppbv. Differences between the model and observations are larger for very low or very high observed CO values. The added-value products will help in the understanding of the trace-gas distribution and seasonal variability. They are available in the IAGOS database via http://www.iagos.org. The SOFT-IO tool could also be applied to similar data sets of CO observations (e.g., ground-based measurements, satellite observations). SOFT-IO could also be used for statistical validation as well as for intercomparisons of emission inventories using large amounts of data.