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Modeling the atmospheric transport of CO2

Ute Karstens

Max-Planck-Institute for Biogeochemistry

Dept. Biogeochemical Systems

Spatial and temporal distribution and variability of the atmospheric CO2 concentration in Europe and Western Siberia is investigated using the regional atmospheric model REMO. In REMO transport of CO2 and other tracers is simulated on-line together with the meteorology, offering a consistent way to describe subgrid scale transport processes (Langmann, 2000).

In the model simulations the spatial and temporal distributions of CO2 fluxes at the earth surface are prescribed as lower boundary conditions:

1.Uptake and release of CO2 by vegetation and soil is described by simulations of terrestrial biosphere models, e.g. TURC (Lafont et al., 2002) or BIOME-BGC (Churkina et al., 2004)
2.Anthropogenic CO2 emissions are prescribed from the Emission Database for Global Atmospheric Research EDGAR (Olivier et al., 1996).
3.Exchange of CO2 at the ocean surface is taken from the dataset of Takahashi et al. (1999).

In order to take into account the influences of long-term variations and sources and sinks outside the model domain, results from the coarser grid global transport model TM3 (Heimann and Körner, 2003) are used as initial and boundary conditions in the REMO simulations. Comparisons to aircraft and surface measurements of CO2 at stations in Europe and Russia show that the model is able to realistically predict the temporal variability and the vertical structure of the CO2 concentration at these stations (Chevillard et al, 2002).

The monthly mean CO2 concentration in the boundary layer (at 300 m) for July 1998 is shown in Figure 1. In summer, the CO2 concentration over Siberia is significantly lower due to the photosynthetic uptake by the biosphere. The strong regional influence of the anthropogenic emissions in Europe is also evident in the spatial pattern.

Co2 Transport

Figure 1: Monthly mean CO2 concentration at 300m in July 1998


  • Chevillard, A., U. Karstens, P.Cias, S. Lafont and M. Heimann, 2002: Simulation of atmospheric CO2 over Europe and western Siberia using the regional scale model REMO, Tellus, 54B, 872-894.
  • Churkina G., J. Tenhunen, P. Thornton, J. Elbers, M. Erhard, E. Falge, T. Grünwald, A. Kowalski, U. Rannik, and D. Sprinz, 2004: Analyzing the ecosystem carbon dynamics of four European coniferous forests using a biogeochemistry model, Ecosystems 6: 168-184.
  • Heimann, M., and S. Körner, 2003: The global atmospheric tracer model TM3. Technical Report No. 5, Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie, Jena, pp. 131.
  • Lafont, S., L. Kergoat, G. Dedieu, A. Chevillard, E. Kjellström, U. Karstens, and O. Kolle, 2002: Spatial and temporal variability of land CO2 fluxes estimated with remote sensing and analysis data over western Eurasia. Tellus, 54B, 820-833, 2002.
  • Langmann, B., 2000: Numerical modelling of regional scale transport and photochemistry directly together with meteorological processes. Atmos. Environ., 34, 3585-3598.
  • Olivier, J. G. J., A. F. Bouwman, C. W. M. Van der Maas, J. J. M. Berdowski, C. Veldt, J. P. J. Bloos, A. J. H. Visschedijk, P. Y. J. Zandyelt, and J. L. Haverlag, 1996: Description of EDGAR Version 2.0. A set of global emission inventories of greenhouse gases and ozone-depleting substances for all anthropogenic and most natural sources on a per country basis and on 1x1 grid. RIVM/TNO report, December 1996. RIVM, Bilthoven, RIVM report nr. 771060 002. [TNO MEP report nr. R96/119].
  • Takahashi, T., R. H. Wanninkhof, R. A. Feely, R. F. Weiss, D. W. Chipman, N. Bates, J. Olafsson, C. Sabine, and S. C. Sutherland, 1999: Net sea-air CO2 flux over the global oceans, 1999: An improved estimate based on the sea-air pCO2 difference, Proceedings of the 2nd CO2 in Oceans Symposium, Tsukuba, JAPAN, January 18-23, 1999.