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CO depletion in the Gould Belt clouds




We present a statistical comparison of CO depletion in a set of local molecular clouds within the Gould Belt using Sub-millimetre Common User Bolometer Array (SCUBA) and Heterodyne Array Receiver Programme (HARP) data. This is the most wide-ranging study of depletion thus far within the Gould Belt. We estimate CO column densities assuming local thermodynamic equilibrium and, for a selection of sources, using the radiative transfer code radex in order to compare the two column density estimation methods. High levels of depletion are seen in the centres of several dust cores in all the clouds. We find that in the gas surrounding protostars, levels of depletion are somewhat lower than for starless cores with the exception of a few highly depleted protostellar cores in Serpens and NGC 2024. There is a tentative correlation between core mass and core depletion, particularly in Taurus and Serpens. Taurus has, on average, the highest levels of depletion. Ophiuchus has low average levels of depletion which could perhaps be related to the anomalous dust grain size distribution observed in this cloud. High levels of depletion are often seen around the edges of regions of optical emission (Orion) or in more evolved or less dynamic regions such as the bowl of L1495 in Taurus and the north-western region of Serpens.