User Manual Privacy Policy Disclaimer Contact us
  Advanced SearchBrowse




Journal Article

Global atmospheric CO2 inverse models converging on neutral tropical land exchange, but disagreeing on fossil fuel and atmospheric growth rate


Rödenbeck,  Christian
Inverse Data-driven Estimation, Dr. C. Rödenbeck, Department Biogeochemical Systems, Prof. M. Heimann, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Society;

External Ressource
Fulltext (public)

(Publisher version), 3MB

Supplementary Material (public)

(Supplementary material), 3MB


Gaubert, B., Stephens, B. B., Basu, S., Chevallier, F., Deng, F., Kort, E. A., et al. (2019). Global atmospheric CO2 inverse models converging on neutral tropical land exchange, but disagreeing on fossil fuel and atmospheric growth rate. Biogeosciences, 16(1), 117-134. doi:10.5194/bg-16-117-2019.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0002-05D6-7
We have compared a suite of recent global CO2 atmospheric inversion results to independent airborne observations and to each other, to assess their dependence on differences in northern extratropical vertical transport and to identify some of the drivers of model spread. We evaluate posterior CO2 concentration profiles against observations from the High-Performance Instrumented Airborne Platform for Environmental Research (HIAPER) Pole-to-Pole Observations (HIPPO) aircraft campaigns over the mid Pacific in 2009–2011. Although the models differ in inverse approaches, assimilated observations, prior fluxes, and transport models, their latitudinal distributions of land fluxes have converged significantly since the Atmospheric Carbon Cycle Inversion Intercomparison (TransCom3) and the REgional Carbon Cycle Assessment and Processes (RECCAP) projects, with model spread reduced by 80% since TransCom3 and 70% since RECCAP. Most modelled CO2 fields agree reasonably well with the HIPPO observations, in particular for annual mean vertical gradients in the northern hemisphere. Northern hemisphere vertical mixing no longer appears to be a dominant driver of northern versus tropical annual flux differences. Our newer suite of models still gives modest northern extratropical land uptake and near neutral tropical land uptake for 2009–2011, thus implying a continued strong uptake in intact tropical forests given estimates of emissions from deforestation. The results from these models for other time periods (2004–2014, 2001–2004, 1992–1996), and re-evaluation of the TransCom3 Level 2 and RECCAP results confirms that tropical land carbon fluxes including deforestation have been near neutral for several decades. However, models still have large disagreements on ocean-land partitioning, and this is influenced by differences in prescribed fossil fuel emissions and is associated with differences in retrieved atmospheric growth rate. The fossil fuel and the atmospheric growth rate terms have been thought to be the best-known terms in the global carbon budget, but we show that they dominate the model spread at the largest scales and currently limit our ability to assess regional scale terrestrial fluxes and ocean-land partitioning from the model ensemble.