Ability of the current global observing network to constrain N2O sources and sinks
Monday, 15 December 2014: 5:00 PM
The global observing network for atmospheric N2O combines flask and in-situ measurements at ground stations with sustained and campaign-based aircraft observations. In this talk we apply a new global model of N2O (based on GEOS-Chem) and its adjoint to assess the strengths and weaknesses of this network for quantifying N2O emissions. We employ an ensemble of pseudo-observation analyses to evaluate the relative constraints provided by ground-based (surface, tall tower) and airborne (HIPPO, CARIBIC) observations, and the extent to which variability (e.g. associated with pulsing or seasonality of emissions) not captured by the a priori inventory can bias the inferred fluxes. We find that the ground-based and HIPPO datasets each provide a stronger constraint on the distribution of global emissions than does the CARIBIC dataset on its own. Given appropriate initial conditions, we find that our inferred surface fluxes are insensitive to model errors in the stratospheric loss rate of N2O over the timescale of our analysis (2 years); however, the same is not necessarily true for model errors in stratosphere-troposphere exchange. Finally, we examine the a posteriori error reduction distribution to identify priority locations for future N2O measurements.