Satellite remote sounding of mid-tropospheric CO2

Human activity has increased the concentration of the earth's atmospheric carbon dioxide, which plays a direct role in contributing to global warming. Mid-tropospheric CO2 retrieved by the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder shows a substantial spatiotemporal variability that is supported by in situ aircraft measurements. The distribution of middle tropospheric CO2 is strongly influenced by surface sources and large-scale circulations such as the mid-latitude jet streams and by synoptic weather systems, most notably in the summer hemisphere. In addition, the effects of stratosphere-troposphere exchange are observed during a final stratospheric warming event. The results provide the means to understand the sources and sinks and the lifting of CO2 from surface layers into the free troposphere and its subsequent transport around the globe. These processes are not adequately represented in three chemistry-transport models that have been used to study carbon budgets.

Received 13 June 2008; accepted 6 August 2008; published 9 September 2008.

Keywords: CO2; AIRS; infrared.

Index Terms: 3360 Atmospheric Processes: Remote sensing; 0340 Atmospheric Composition and Structure: Middle atmosphere: composition and chemistry; 0341 Atmospheric Composition and Structure: Middle atmosphere: constituent transport and chemistry (3334); 0365 Atmospheric Composition and Structure: Troposphere: composition and chemistry; 0368 Atmospheric Composition and Structure: Troposphere: constituent transport and chemistry.