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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  17 Mar 2020

17 Mar 2020

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A revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

A dedicated flask sampling strategy developed for ICOS stations based on CO2 and CO measurements and STILT footprint modelling

Ingeborg Levin1, Ute Karstens2, Markus Eritt3, Fabian Maier1, Sabrina Arnold4, Daniel Rzesanke3, Samuel Hammer1, Michel Ramonet5, Gabriela Vítková6, Sebastien Conil7, Michal Heliasz8, Dagmar Kubistin4, and Matthias Lindauer4 Ingeborg Levin et al.
  • 1Institut für Umweltphysik, Heidelberg University, INF 229, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
  • 2ICOS Carbon Portal, Lund University, Geocentrum II, Sölvegatan 12, 22362 Lund, Sweden
  • 3Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, ICOS Flask- und Kalibrierlabor, Kahlaische Strasse 4, 07745 Jena, Germany
  • 4Meteorologisches Observatorium Hohenpeißenberg, Deutscher Wetterdienst, Albin-Schwaiger-Weg 10, 82383 Hohenpeißenberg, Germany
  • 5Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement (LSCE), IPSL, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, Université Paris-Saclay, Orme des Merisiers, Bât. 714, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
  • 6Global Change Research Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Bělidla 986/4°, 603 00 Brno, Czech Republic
  • 7DRD/OPE, Andra, RD960 – BP9, 55290 Bure, France
  • 8Centre for Environmental and Climate Research, Lund University, Sölvegatan 37, 223 62 Lund, Sweden

Abstract. In situ CO2 and CO measurements from five atmospheric ICOS (Integrated Carbon Observation System) stations have been analysed together with footprint model runs from the regional transport model STILT, to develop a dedicated strategy for flask sampling with an automated sampler. Flask sampling in ICOS has three different purposes: (1) Provide an independent quality control for in situ observations, (2) provide representative information on atmospheric components currently not monitored in situ at the stations, (3) collect samples for 14CO2 analysis that are significantly influenced by fossil fuel CO2 (ffCO2) emission areas. Based on the existing data and experimental results obtained at the Heidelberg pilot station with a prototype flask sampler, we suggest that single flask samples should be collected regularly every third day around noon/afternoon from the highest level of a tower station. Air samples shall be collected over one hour with equal temporal weighting to obtain a true hourly mean. At all stations studied, more than 50 % of flasks to be collected around mid-day will likely be sampled during low ambient variability (< 0.5 ppm standard deviation of one-minute values). Based on a first application at the Hohenpeißenberg ICOS site, such flask data are principally suitable to detect CO2 concentration biases larger than 0.1 ppm with a one-sigma confidence level between flask and in situ observations from only 5 flask comparisons. In order to have a maximum chance to also sample ffCO2 emission areas, additional flasks need to be collected on all other days in the afternoon. Using the continuous in situ CO observations, the CO deviation from an estimated background value must be determined the day after each flask sampling and, depending on this offset, an automated decision must be made if a flask shall be retained for 14CO2 analysis. It turned out that, based on existing data, ffCO2 events of more than 4–5 ppm will be very rare at all stations studied, particularly in summer. During the other seasons, events could be collected more frequently. The strategy developed in this project is currently being implemented at the ICOS stations.

Ingeborg Levin et al.

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Ingeborg Levin et al.

Ingeborg Levin et al.


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Latest update: 07 Aug 2020
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Based on continuous observations and STILT footprint modelling, a flask sampling strategy has been developed for European tall tower stations of the ICOS Research Infrastructure atmospheric station network. This strategy (1) allows independent quality control of in situ measurements, (2) provides representative coverage of the influence area of the sites and (3) is capable for automated targeted sampling of fossil fuel CO2 emission hot spots.
Based on continuous observations and STILT footprint modelling, a flask sampling strategy has...