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Geoscientific Model Development An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2020-137
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2020-137
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: development and technical paper 26 Jun 2020

Submitted as: development and technical paper | 26 Jun 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal GMD.

Methane chemistry in a nutshell – The new submodels CH4 (v1.0) and TRSYNC (v1.0) in MESSy (v2.54.0)

Franziska Winterstein and Patrick Jöckel Franziska Winterstein and Patrick Jöckel
  • Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre, Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany

Abstract. Climate projections including chemical feedbacks rely on state-of-the-art chemistry-climate models (CCMs). Of particular importance is the role of methane (CH4) for the budget of stratospheric water vapor (SWV), which has an important climate impact. However, simulations with CCMs are, due to the large number of involved chemical species, computationally demanding, which limits the simulation of sensitivity studies.

To allow for sensitivity studies and ensemble simulations with a reduced demand for computational resources, we introduce a simplified approach to simulate the core of methane chemistry in form of the new Modular Earth Submodel System (MESSy) submodel CH4. It involves an atmospheric chemistry mechanism reduced to the sink reactions of CH4 with predefined fields of the hydroxyl radical (OH), excited oxygen (O(1D)), and chlorine (Cl), as well as photolysis and the reaction products limited to water vapour (H2O). This chemical production of H2O is optionally feed back onto the specific humidity (q) of the connected General Circulation Model (GCM), to account for the impact onto SWV and its effect on radiation and stratospheric dynamics. The submodel CH4 is further capable of simulating the four most prevalent CH4 isotopologues for carbon and hydrogen (CH4 and CH3D as well as 12CH4 and 13CH4), respectively. Furthermore, the production of deuterated water vapour (HDO) is, similar to the production of H2O in the CH4 oxidation, optionally feed back to the isotopological hydrological cycle simulated by the submodel H2OISO, using the newly developed auxiliary submodel TRSYNC. Moreover, the simulation of a user defined number of diagnostic CH4 age- and emission classes is possible, which output can be used for offline inverse optimization techniques.

The presented approach combines the most important chemical hydrological feedback including the isotopic signatures with the advantages concerning the computational simplicity of a GCM, in comparison to a full featured CCM.

Franziska Winterstein and Patrick Jöckel

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Franziska Winterstein and Patrick Jöckel

Franziska Winterstein and Patrick Jöckel

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Latest update: 22 Sep 2020
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Short summary
Atmospheric methane is currently a hot topic in climate research, among others due to its chemically active nature. We introduce a simplified approach to simulate methane chemistry in climate models to enable extensive sensitivity studies by reducing computational cost, but including the crucial feedback of methane on stratospheric water vapor. We further provide options to simulate isotopes in methane and to generate output for an inverse optimization technique.
Atmospheric methane is currently a hot topic in climate research, among others due to its...
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