Global Biogeochemical Cycles

TransCom 3 inversion intercomparison: Impact of transport model errors on the interannual variability of regional CO2 fluxes, 1988–2003

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Abstract

[1] Monthly CO2 fluxes are estimated across 1988–2003 for 22 emission regions using data from 78 CO2 measurement sites. The same inversion (method, priors, data) is performed with 13 different atmospheric transport models, and the spread in the results is taken as a measure of transport model error. Interannual variability (IAV) in the winds is not modeled, so any IAV in the measurements is attributed to IAV in the fluxes. When both this transport error and the random estimation errors are considered, the flux IAV obtained is statistically significant at P ≤ 0.05 when the fluxes are grouped into land and ocean components for three broad latitude bands, but is much less so when grouped into continents and basins. The transport errors have the largest impact in the extratropical northern latitudes. A third of the 22 emission regions have significant IAV, including the Tropical East Pacific (with physically plausible uptake/release across the 1997–2000 El Niño/La Niña) and Tropical Asia (with strong release in 1997/1998 coinciding with large-scale fires there). Most of the global IAV is attributed robustly to the tropical/southern land biosphere, including both the large release during the 1997/1998 El Niño and the post-Pinatubo uptake.

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