Comparison of airborne measurements of greenhouse gases over Railroad Valley, Nevada to satellite and model results

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Tomoaki Tanaka1, Emma L Yates1, Laura T Iraci1, Matthew S Johnson1, Jimena Lopez2, Max Loewenstein1, Warren Gore1, Jovan Tadic3, Akihiko Kuze4 and Shuji Kawakami4, (1)NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, United States, (2)Bay Area Environmental Research Institute, Sonoma, CA, United States, (3)Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford, CA, United States, (4)Earth Obs. Res. Cntr. / JAXA, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan
As part of the Alpha Jet Atmospheric eXperiment (AJAX) we have measured vertical profiles of greenhouse gases (GHGs) (i.e., carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4)) over Railroad Valley, NV (RRV) on a monthly basis since 2011. These GHG measurements are conducted to quantify trends of climatically important gases and to validate satellite-based GHG column estimates from Greenhouse Observing Satellite (GOSAT) and Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2).

The vertical profiles of GHGs observed over RRV show relatively uniform features below and above the boundary layer, and mixing ratios are increasing every year. Strong enhancements in the free troposphere are seen in these profiles in some instances. To assess possible sources of these enhancements and their effects on the GHG column average, GHG vertical profiles calculated by the 3-D GEOS-Chem chemical transport model (v9-01-03) and back-trajectory analysis from the Hybrid Single Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory Model (HYSPLIT) are compared with airborne measurements. The main results that we will show are 1) the comparison of vertical GHG distribution calculated from GEOS-Chem and that measured by AJAX, 2) total column GHG values from the model, AJAX, and GOSAT, and 3) demonstrate the source apportionment in GHGs profiles measured at RRV.

The RRV playa is a flat high altitude desert site where local sources and sinks of carbon-species are expected to be minimal except for a small oil field. RRV is a radiometrically flat region and has been used to calibrate various satellite radiometers before. These measurements are conducted as part of the Alpha Jet Atmospheric eXperiment (AJAX) which regularly measures GHGs, ozone, and 3-D winds over California and Nevada. The Alpha Jet is operated from NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field and airborne instruments are installed in an unpressurized wing pod.