Inferring the vertical distribution of CO and CO2 from TCCON total column...

Parker, H. A., J. Laughner, G. Toon, D. Wunch, C. Roehl, L. Iraci, J. Podolske, K. McKain, B. Baier, and P. Wennberg (2023), Inferring the vertical distribution of CO and CO2 from TCCON total column values using the TARDISS algorithm, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 16, 2601-2625, doi:10.5194/amt-16-2601-2023.

We describe an approach for determining limited information about the vertical distribution of carbon monoxide (CO) and carbon dioxide (CO2 ) from total column ground-based Total Carbon Column Observation Network (TCCON) observations. For CO and CO2 , it has been difficult to retrieve information about their vertical distribution from spectral line shapes because of the errors in the spectroscopy and the atmospheric temperature profile that mask the effects of variations in their mixing ratio with altitude. For CO2 the challenge is especially difficult given that these variations are typically 2 % or less. Nevertheless, if sufficient accuracy can be obtained, such information would be highly valuable for evaluation of retrievals from satellites and more generally for improving the estimate of surface sources and sinks of these trace gases.

We present here the Temporal Atmospheric Retrieval Determining Information from Secondary Scaling (TARDISS) retrieval algorithm. TARDISS uses several simultaneously obtained total column observations of the same gas from different absorption bands with distinctly different vertical averaging kernels. The different total column retrievals are combined in TARDISS using a Bayesian approach where the weights and temporal covariance applied to the different retrievals include additional constraints on the diurnal variation in the vertical distribution for these gases. We assume that the near-surface part of the column varies rapidly over the course of a day (from surface sources and sinks, for example) and that the upper part of the column has a larger temporal covariance over the course of a day.

Using measurements from the five North American TCCON sites, we find that the retrieved lower partial column (between the surface and ∼ 800 hPa) of the CO and CO2 dry mole fractions (DMFs) have slopes of 0.999 ± 0.002 and 1.001 ± 0.003 with respect to lower column DMF from integrated in situ data measured directly from aircraft and in AirCores. The average error for our lower column CO retrieval is 1.51 ppb (∼ 2 %) while the average error for our CO2 retrieval is 5.09 ppm (∼ 1.25 %). Compared with classical line-shape-derived vertical profile retrievals, our algorithm reduces the influence of forward model errors such as imprecision in spectroscopy (line shapes and intensities) and in the instrument line shape. In addition, because TARDISS uses the existing retrieved column abundances from TCCON (which themselves are computationally much less intensive than profile retrieval algorithms), it is very fast and processes years of data in minutes. We anticipate that this approach will find broad application for use in carbon cycle science.

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Atmospheric Composition
Tropospheric Composition Program (TCP)