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A direct carbon budgeting approach to infer carbon sources and sinks. Design and synthetic application to complement the NACP observation network


*Corresponding author.


In order to exploit the upcoming regular measurements of vertical carbon dioxide (CO2) profiles over North America implemented in the framework of the North American Carbon Program (NACP), we design a direct carbon budgeting approach to infer carbon sources and sinks over the continent using model simulations. Direct budgeting puts a control volume on top of North America, balances air mass in- and outflows into the volume and solves for the surface fluxes. The flows are derived from the observations through a geostatistical interpolation technique called Kriging combined with transport fields from weather analysis. The use of CO2 vertical profiles simulated by the atmospheric transport model MOZART-2 at the planned 19 stations of the NACP network has given an estimation of the error of 0.39 GtC yr−1 within the model world. Reducing this error may be achieved through a better estimation of mass fluxes associated with convective processes affecting North America. Complementary stations in the north-west and the north-east are also needed to resolve the variability of CO2 in these regions. For instance, the addition of a single station near 52°N; 110°W is shown to decrease the estimation error to 0.34 GtC yr−1.