11 Sep 2020

11 Sep 2020

Review status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Atmospheric carbon cycle dynamics over the ABoVEdomain: an integrated analysis using aircraft observations (Arctic-CAP) and model simulations (GEOS)

Colm Sweeney1, Abhishek Chatterjee2,3, Sonja Wolter1,4, Kathryn McKain1,4, Robert Bogue5,a, Tim Newberger1,4, Lei Hu1,4, Lesley Ott3, Benjamin Poulter3, Luke Schiferl6, Brad Weir2,3, Zhen Zhang7, and Charles E. Miller5 Colm Sweeney et al.
  • 1NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 2Universities Space Research Association, Columbia, MD, USA
  • 3NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt MD, USA
  • 4CIRES, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 5Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena CA, USA
  • 6LDEO, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA
  • 7University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA
  • anow at: McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada

Abstract. The Arctic Carbon Atmospheric Profiles (Arctic-CAP) project conducted six airborne surveys of Alaska and northwestern Canada between April and November 2017 to capture the spatial and temporal gradients of northern high-latitude carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and carbon monoxide (CO) as part of NASA's Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE). The Arctic-CAP sampling strategy involved acquiring vertical profiles of CO2, CH4 and CO from the surface to 5 km altitude at 25 sites around the ABoVE domain on a 4- to 6-week time interval. We observed vertical gradients of CO2, CH4 and CO that vary by eco-region and duration of the sampling period, which spanned the majority of the seasonal cycle. All Arctic-CAP measurements were compared to a global simulation using the Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS) modeling system. Comparisons with GEOS simulations of atmospheric CO2, CH4 and CO highlight the potential of these multi-species observations to inform improvements in surface flux estimates and the representation of atmospheric transport. GEOS simulations provide estimates of the near surface average CO2 and CH4 enhancements that are well correlated with aircraft observations (R=0.74 and R=0.60 respectively), suggesting that GEOS has reasonable fidelity over this complex and heterogeneous region. This model-data comparison over the ABoVE domain reveals that while current state-of-the-art models and flux estimates are able to capture broadscale spatial and temporal patterns in near-surface CO2 and CH4 concentrations, more work is needed to resolve fine-scale flux features that are observed. The study also provides a framework for benchmarking a global model at regional scales, which is needed to use climate models as tools to investigate high-latitude carbon-climate feedbacks.

Colm Sweeney et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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Colm Sweeney et al.

Data sets

ABoVE: Atmospheric Profiles of CO, CO2 and CH4 Concentrations from Arctic-CAP, 2017 C. Sweeney and K. McKain

Colm Sweeney et al.


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Short summary
The Arctic Carbon Atmospheric Profiles (Arctic-CAP) project demonstrates the utility of aircraft profiles for independent evaluation of model derived emissions/uptake of atmospheric CO2, CH4 and CO from land and ocean. Comparison with the Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS) modeling system suggests that fluxes of CO2 are very consistent with observations while CH4 have some regional and seasonal biases and that CO comparison is complicated by transport errors.