The 2015–2016 carbon cycle as seen from OCO-2 and the global in situ network

Crowell, S., D. Baker, A. Schuh, S. Basu, A. Jacobson, F. Chevallier, J. Liu, F. Deng, L. Feng, K. McKain, A. Chatterjee, J. B. Miller, B. Stephens, A. Eldering, D. Crisp, D. Schimel, R. Nassar, C. O'Dell, T. Oda, C. Sweeney, P. Palmer, and D. B. A. Jones (2019), The 2015–2016 carbon cycle as seen from OCO-2 and the global in situ network, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 19, 9797-9831, doi:10.5194/acp-19-9797-2019.

The Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 has been on orbit since 2014, and its global coverage holds the potential to reveal new information about the carbon cycle through the use of top-down atmospheric inversion methods combined with column average CO2 retrievals. We employ a large ensemble of atmospheric inversions utilizing different transport models, data assimilation techniques, and prior flux distributions in order to quantify the satellite-informed fluxes from OCO-2 Version 7r land observations and their uncertainties at continental scales. Additionally, we use in situ measurements to provide a baseline against which to compare the satellite-constrained results. We find that within the ensemble spread, in situ observations, and satellite retrievals constrain a similar global total carbon sink of 3.7 ± 0.5 PgC yr−1 , and 1.5±0.6 PgC yr−1 for global land, for the 2015–2016 annual mean. This agreement breaks down in smaller regions, and we discuss the differences between the experiments. Of particular interest is the difference between the different assimilation constraints in the tropics, with the largest differences occurring in tropical Africa, which could be an indication of the global perturbation from the 2015–2016 El Niño. Evaluation of posterior concentrations using TCCON and aircraft observations gives some limited insight into the quality of the different assimilation constraints, but the lack of such data in the tropics inhibits our ability to make strong conclusions there.

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Research Program: 
Tropospheric Composition Program (TCP)
Carbon Cycle & Ecosystems Program (CCEP)
Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2)