Articles | Volume 4, issue 2
Development and technical paper
18 Apr 2011
Development and technical paper |  | 18 Apr 2011

Simulation of variability in atmospheric carbon dioxide using a global coupled Eulerian – Lagrangian transport model

Y. Koyama, S. Maksyutov, H. Mukai, K. Thoning, and P. Tans

Abstract. This study assesses the advantages of using a coupled atmospheric-tracer transport model, comprising a global Eulerian model and a global Lagrangian particle dispersion model, to improve the reproducibility of tracer-gas variations affected by the near-field surface emissions and transport around observation sites. The ability to resolve variability in atmospheric composition on an hourly time-scale and a spatial scale of several kilometers would be beneficial for analyzing data from continuous ground-based monitoring and from upcoming space-based observations. The coupled model yields an increase in the horizontal resolution of transport and fluxes, and has been tested in regional-scale studies of atmospheric chemistry. By applying the Lagrangian component to the global domain, we extend this approach to the global scale, thereby enabling computationally efficient global inverse modeling and data assimilation. To validate the coupled model, we compare model-simulated CO2 concentrations with continuous observations at three sites: two operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, USA, and one operated by the National Institute for Environmental Studies, Japan. As the goal of this study is limited to introducing the new modeling approach, we selected a transport simulation at these three sites to demonstrate how the model may perform at various geographical areas. The coupled model provides improved agreement between modeled and observed CO2 concentrations in comparison to the Eulerian model. In an area where variability in CO2 concentration is dominated by a fossil fuel signal, the correlation coefficient between modeled and observed concentrations increases by between 0.05 to 0.1 from the original values of 0.5–0.6 achieved with the Eulerian model.