On the Ability of Ascends to Constrain Fossil Fuel, Ocean and High Latitude Emissions: Flux Estimation Experiments

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Sean Crowell1, Stephan R Kawa2, Dorit Hammerling3, Berrien Moore III1 and Peter J Rayner4, (1)University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK, United States, (2)NASA Goddard SFC, Greenbelt, MD, United States, (3)Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute, Boulder, CO, United States, (4)University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia
In Hammerling et al., 2014 (H14) the authors demonstrated a geostatistical method for mapping satellite estimates of column integrated CO2 mixing ratio, denoted XCO2, that incorporates the spatial variability in satellite-measured XCO2 as well as measurement precision. The goal of the study was to determine whether the Active Sensing of CO2 over Nights, Days and Seasons (ASCENDS) mission would be able to detect changes in XCO2 given changes in the underlying fluxes for different levels of instrument precision. Three scenarios were proposed: a flux-neutral shift in fossil fuel emissions from Europe to China (shown in the figure); a permafrost melting event; interannual variability in the Southern Oceans. The conclusions of H14 were modest but favorable for detectability in each case by ASCENDS given enough observations and sufficient precision. These signal detection experiments suggest that ASCENDS observations, together with a chemical transport model and data assimilation methodology, would be sufficient to provide quality estimates of the underlying surface fluxes, so long as the ASCENDS observations are precise enough.

In this work, we present results that bridge the gap between the previous signal detection work by [Hammerling et al., 2014] and the ability of transport models to recover flux perturbations from ASCENDS observations utilizing the TM5-4DVAR data assimilation system. In particular, we will explore the space of model and observational uncertainties that will yield useful scientific information in each of the flux perturbation scenarios. This work will give a sense of the ability of ASCENDS to answer key questions about some of the foremost questions in carbon cycle science today.


Hammerling, D., Kawa, S., Schaefer, K., and Michalak, A. (2014). Detectability of CO2 flux signals by a space-based lidar mission. Submitted.