Comparison of Model-simulated Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide with GOSAT Retrievals

  • Received : 2011.07.18
  • Accepted : 2011.11.21
  • Published : 2011.12.31


Global atmospheric $CO_2$ distributions were simulated with a chemical transport model (GEOS-Chem) and compared with space-borne observations of $CO_2$ column density by GOSAT from April 2009 to January 2010. The GEOS-Chem model simulated 3-D global atmospheric $CO_2$ at $2^{\circ}{\times}2.5^{\circ}$ horizontal resolution using global $CO_2$ surface sources/sinks as well as 3-D emissions from aviation and the atmospheric oxidation of other carbon species. The seasonal cycle and spatial distribution of GEOS-Chem $CO_2$ columns were generally comparable with GOSAT columns over each continent with a systematic positive bias of ~1.0%. Data from the World Data Center for Greenhouse Gases (WDCGG) from twelve ground stations spanning $90^{\circ}S-82^{\circ}N$ were also compared with the modeled data for the period of 2004-2009 inclusive. The ground-based data show high correlations with the GEOS-Chem simulation ($0.66{\leq}R^2{\leq}0.99$) but the model data have a negative bias of ~1.0%, which is primarily due to the model initial conditions. Together these two comparisons can be used to infer that GOSAT $CO_2$ retrievals underestimate $CO_2$ column concentration by ~2.0%, as demonstrated in recent validation work using other methods. We further estimated individual source/sink contributions to the global atmospheric $CO_2$ budget and trends through 7 tagged $CO_2$ tracers (fossil fuels, ocean exchanges, biomass burning, biofuel burning, net terrestrial exchange, shipping, aviation, and CO oxidation) over 2004-2009. The global $CO_2$ trend over this period (2.1 ppmv/year) has been mainly driven by fossil fuel combustion and cement production (3.2 ppmv/year), reinforcing the fact that rigorous $CO_2$ reductions from human activities are necessary in order to stabilize atmospheric $CO_2$ levels.



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