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Atmospheric Composition

We propose to rigorously quantify surface influences of atmospheric CH4 measurements and to constrain regional CH4 fluxes at high latitudes in situations where the surfaces influences are significant. North America is a natural place to start, since it offers a high density of correlative measurements. Improved parameterizations in a CH4 flux model over North America will then be applied to other comparable regions of the Northern Hemisphere, particularly Siberia.

Surface influences will be quantified using a Lagrangian transport model applied to measurements from satellite, aircraft, and ground-based measurements. A new and unique NASA asset to be analyzed are the global CH4 fields obtained from the Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer (TES) on NASA Aura, as well as the AIRS methane product. Complementary measurements will be provided by aircraft and ground- based meaurements. Our mature model-data fusion system is capable of ingesting data from any measurement platform (e.g., the recently launched GOSAT satellite), providing a natural path for the future expansion of the proposed regional analysis to the global scale.

The proposed work addresses an issue central to climate change and atmospheric composition. Methane currently accounts for 18% of total greenhouse gas radiative forcing and its relative importance is projected to grow with time. Methane also plays an important role in atmospheric chemistry, through its oxidation by the hydroxyl radical and its impact on surface ozone pollution. However, there are large uncertainties associated with methane emissions. For example, wetland emissions are the largest single source of methane, but their magnitude and relative distribution between high-latitudes and tropics remain highly uncertain. Also, there is evidence to suggest that CH4 flux estimates from high latitude lakes may be too low by an order of magnitude. The proposed work will reduce these uncertainties and quantify interactions between the global and regional scale atmosphere.

Project PI: Gabriele Pfister/National Center for Atmospheric Research

National Center for Atmospheric Research Earth Systems Laboratory, Atmospheric Chemistry Division 3450 Mitchell Lane, Boulder, CO 80301, USA

Phone: (303) 497-2915

Fax: (303) 497-1400

Email: pfister@ucar.edu

http://acd.ucar.edu/~pfister/

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Started: Sep 03, 2010

Last Activity: Feb 02, 2011

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