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Sensitivity of CO2 surface flux constraints to observational coverage

Byrne, B., D. B. A. Jones, K. Strong, Z. ‐c. Zeng, F. Deng, and J. Liu (2017), Sensitivity of CO2 surface flux constraints to observational coverage, J. Geophys. Res., 122, 6672-6694, doi:10.1002/2016JD026164.

Inverse modeling of regional CO2 fluxes using atmospheric CO2 data is sensitive to the observational coverage of the observing network. Here we use the GEOS‐Chem adjoint model to examine the sensitivity to CO2 fluxes of observations from the in situ surface network, the Total Carbon Column Observing Network (TCCON), the Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite (GOSAT), and the Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO‐2). We find that OCO‐2 has high sensitivity to fluxes throughout the tropics and Southern Hemisphere, while surface observations have high sensitivity to fluxes in the northern extratropics throughout the year. For GOSAT viewing modes, ocean glint data provide the strongest constraints on fluxes in the tropics and Southern Hemisphere during Northern Hemisphere fall and winter relative to other viewing modes. In contrast, GOSAT nadir land data offer the greater sensitivity to fluxes in these regions during Northern Hemisphere spring and summer. For OCO‐2 viewing modes, ocean glint data provided the dominant sensitivity to the surface fluxes in the northern subtropics, tropics, and Southern Hemisphere. We performed a series of inversion analyses using pseudodata and found that the varying sensitivities can result in large differences in regional flux estimates. However, combining measurements from different observing systems to exploit their complementarity may lead to a posteriori flux estimates with improved accuracy.

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