Evaluation of column-averaged methane in models and TCCON with a focus on the stratosphere

Andreas Ostler, Ralf Sussmann, Prabir K. Patra, Sander Houweling, Marko De Bruine, Gabriele P. Stiller, Florian J. Haenel, Johannes Plieninger, Philippe Bousquet, Yi Yin, Marielle Saunois, Kaley A. Walker, Nicholas M. Deutscher, David W.T. Griffith, Thomas Blumenstock, Frank Hase, Thorsten Warneke, Zhiting Wang, Rigel Kivi, John Robinson

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The distribution of methane (CH4) in the stratosphere can be a major driver of spatial variability in the dry-air column-averaged CH4 mixing ratio (XCH4), which is being measured increasingly for the assessment of CH4 surface emissions. Chemistry-transport models (CTMs) therefore need to simulate the tropospheric and stratospheric fractional columns of XCH4 accurately for estimating surface emissions from XCH4. Simulations from three CTMs are tested against XCH4 observations from the Total Carbon Column Network (TCCON). We analyze how the model-TCCON agreement in XCH4 depends on the model representation of stratospheric CH4 distributions. Model equivalents of TCCON XCH4 are computed with stratospheric CH4 fields from both the model simulations and from satellite-based CH4 distributions from MIPAS (Michelson Interferometer for Passive Atmospheric Sounding) and MIPAS CH4 fields adjusted to ACE-FTS (Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment Fourier Transform Spectrometer) observations. Using MIPAS-based stratospheric CH4 fields in place of model simulations improves the model-TCCON XCH4 agreement for all models. For the Atmospheric Chemistry Transport Model (ACTM) the average XCH4 bias is significantly reduced from 38.1 to 13.7 ppb, whereas small improvements are found for the models TM5 (Transport Model, version 5; from 8.7 to 4.3 ppb) and LMDz (Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique model with zooming capability; from 6.8 to 4.3 ppb). Replacing model simulations with MIPAS stratospheric CH4 fields adjusted to ACE-FTS reduces the average XCH4 bias for ACTM (3.3 ppb), but increases the average XCH4 bias for TM5 (10.8 ppb) and LMDz (20.0 ppb). These findings imply that model errors in simulating stratospheric CH4 contribute to model biases. Current satellite instruments cannot definitively measure stratospheric CH4 to sufficient accuracy to eliminate these biases. Applying transport diagnostics to the models indicates that model-to-model differences in the simulation of stratospheric transport, notably the age of stratospheric air, can largely explain the inter-model spread in stratospheric CH4 and, hence, its contribution to XCH4. Therefore, it would be worthwhile to analyze how individual model components (e.g., physical parameterization, meteorological data sets, model horizontal/vertical resolution) impact the simulation of stratospheric CH4 and XCH4.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4843-4859
Number of pages17
JournalAtmospheric Measurement Techniques
Volume9
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sep 2016

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stratosphere
methane
carbon
MIPAS
atmospheric chemistry
evaluation
simulation
Fourier transform
spectrometer
air

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Ostler, Andreas ; Sussmann, Ralf ; Patra, Prabir K. ; Houweling, Sander ; De Bruine, Marko ; Stiller, Gabriele P. ; Haenel, Florian J. ; Plieninger, Johannes ; Bousquet, Philippe ; Yin, Yi ; Saunois, Marielle ; Walker, Kaley A. ; Deutscher, Nicholas M. ; Griffith, David W.T. ; Blumenstock, Thomas ; Hase, Frank ; Warneke, Thorsten ; Wang, Zhiting ; Kivi, Rigel ; Robinson, John. / Evaluation of column-averaged methane in models and TCCON with a focus on the stratosphere. In: Atmospheric Measurement Techniques. 2016 ; Vol. 9, No. 9. pp. 4843-4859.
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abstract = "The distribution of methane (CH4) in the stratosphere can be a major driver of spatial variability in the dry-air column-averaged CH4 mixing ratio (XCH4), which is being measured increasingly for the assessment of CH4 surface emissions. Chemistry-transport models (CTMs) therefore need to simulate the tropospheric and stratospheric fractional columns of XCH4 accurately for estimating surface emissions from XCH4. Simulations from three CTMs are tested against XCH4 observations from the Total Carbon Column Network (TCCON). We analyze how the model-TCCON agreement in XCH4 depends on the model representation of stratospheric CH4 distributions. Model equivalents of TCCON XCH4 are computed with stratospheric CH4 fields from both the model simulations and from satellite-based CH4 distributions from MIPAS (Michelson Interferometer for Passive Atmospheric Sounding) and MIPAS CH4 fields adjusted to ACE-FTS (Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment Fourier Transform Spectrometer) observations. Using MIPAS-based stratospheric CH4 fields in place of model simulations improves the model-TCCON XCH4 agreement for all models. For the Atmospheric Chemistry Transport Model (ACTM) the average XCH4 bias is significantly reduced from 38.1 to 13.7 ppb, whereas small improvements are found for the models TM5 (Transport Model, version 5; from 8.7 to 4.3 ppb) and LMDz (Laboratoire de M{\'e}t{\'e}orologie Dynamique model with zooming capability; from 6.8 to 4.3 ppb). Replacing model simulations with MIPAS stratospheric CH4 fields adjusted to ACE-FTS reduces the average XCH4 bias for ACTM (3.3 ppb), but increases the average XCH4 bias for TM5 (10.8 ppb) and LMDz (20.0 ppb). These findings imply that model errors in simulating stratospheric CH4 contribute to model biases. Current satellite instruments cannot definitively measure stratospheric CH4 to sufficient accuracy to eliminate these biases. Applying transport diagnostics to the models indicates that model-to-model differences in the simulation of stratospheric transport, notably the age of stratospheric air, can largely explain the inter-model spread in stratospheric CH4 and, hence, its contribution to XCH4. Therefore, it would be worthwhile to analyze how individual model components (e.g., physical parameterization, meteorological data sets, model horizontal/vertical resolution) impact the simulation of stratospheric CH4 and XCH4.",
author = "Andreas Ostler and Ralf Sussmann and Patra, {Prabir K.} and Sander Houweling and {De Bruine}, Marko and Stiller, {Gabriele P.} and Haenel, {Florian J.} and Johannes Plieninger and Philippe Bousquet and Yi Yin and Marielle Saunois and Walker, {Kaley A.} and Deutscher, {Nicholas M.} and Griffith, {David W.T.} and Thomas Blumenstock and Frank Hase and Thorsten Warneke and Zhiting Wang and Rigel Kivi and John Robinson",
year = "2016",
month = "9",
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doi = "10.5194/amt-9-4843-2016",
language = "English",
volume = "9",
pages = "4843--4859",
journal = "Atmospheric Measurement Techniques",
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Ostler, A, Sussmann, R, Patra, PK, Houweling, S, De Bruine, M, Stiller, GP, Haenel, FJ, Plieninger, J, Bousquet, P, Yin, Y, Saunois, M, Walker, KA, Deutscher, NM, Griffith, DWT, Blumenstock, T, Hase, F, Warneke, T, Wang, Z, Kivi, R & Robinson, J 2016, 'Evaluation of column-averaged methane in models and TCCON with a focus on the stratosphere' Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, vol. 9, no. 9, pp. 4843-4859. https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-9-4843-2016

Evaluation of column-averaged methane in models and TCCON with a focus on the stratosphere. / Ostler, Andreas; Sussmann, Ralf; Patra, Prabir K.; Houweling, Sander; De Bruine, Marko; Stiller, Gabriele P.; Haenel, Florian J.; Plieninger, Johannes; Bousquet, Philippe; Yin, Yi; Saunois, Marielle; Walker, Kaley A.; Deutscher, Nicholas M.; Griffith, David W.T.; Blumenstock, Thomas; Hase, Frank; Warneke, Thorsten; Wang, Zhiting; Kivi, Rigel; Robinson, John.

In: Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, Vol. 9, No. 9, 28.09.2016, p. 4843-4859.

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Evaluation of column-averaged methane in models and TCCON with a focus on the stratosphere

AU - Ostler, Andreas

AU - Sussmann, Ralf

AU - Patra, Prabir K.

AU - Houweling, Sander

AU - De Bruine, Marko

AU - Stiller, Gabriele P.

AU - Haenel, Florian J.

AU - Plieninger, Johannes

AU - Bousquet, Philippe

AU - Yin, Yi

AU - Saunois, Marielle

AU - Walker, Kaley A.

AU - Deutscher, Nicholas M.

AU - Griffith, David W.T.

AU - Blumenstock, Thomas

AU - Hase, Frank

AU - Warneke, Thorsten

AU - Wang, Zhiting

AU - Kivi, Rigel

AU - Robinson, John

PY - 2016/9/28

Y1 - 2016/9/28

N2 - The distribution of methane (CH4) in the stratosphere can be a major driver of spatial variability in the dry-air column-averaged CH4 mixing ratio (XCH4), which is being measured increasingly for the assessment of CH4 surface emissions. Chemistry-transport models (CTMs) therefore need to simulate the tropospheric and stratospheric fractional columns of XCH4 accurately for estimating surface emissions from XCH4. Simulations from three CTMs are tested against XCH4 observations from the Total Carbon Column Network (TCCON). We analyze how the model-TCCON agreement in XCH4 depends on the model representation of stratospheric CH4 distributions. Model equivalents of TCCON XCH4 are computed with stratospheric CH4 fields from both the model simulations and from satellite-based CH4 distributions from MIPAS (Michelson Interferometer for Passive Atmospheric Sounding) and MIPAS CH4 fields adjusted to ACE-FTS (Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment Fourier Transform Spectrometer) observations. Using MIPAS-based stratospheric CH4 fields in place of model simulations improves the model-TCCON XCH4 agreement for all models. For the Atmospheric Chemistry Transport Model (ACTM) the average XCH4 bias is significantly reduced from 38.1 to 13.7 ppb, whereas small improvements are found for the models TM5 (Transport Model, version 5; from 8.7 to 4.3 ppb) and LMDz (Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique model with zooming capability; from 6.8 to 4.3 ppb). Replacing model simulations with MIPAS stratospheric CH4 fields adjusted to ACE-FTS reduces the average XCH4 bias for ACTM (3.3 ppb), but increases the average XCH4 bias for TM5 (10.8 ppb) and LMDz (20.0 ppb). These findings imply that model errors in simulating stratospheric CH4 contribute to model biases. Current satellite instruments cannot definitively measure stratospheric CH4 to sufficient accuracy to eliminate these biases. Applying transport diagnostics to the models indicates that model-to-model differences in the simulation of stratospheric transport, notably the age of stratospheric air, can largely explain the inter-model spread in stratospheric CH4 and, hence, its contribution to XCH4. Therefore, it would be worthwhile to analyze how individual model components (e.g., physical parameterization, meteorological data sets, model horizontal/vertical resolution) impact the simulation of stratospheric CH4 and XCH4.

AB - The distribution of methane (CH4) in the stratosphere can be a major driver of spatial variability in the dry-air column-averaged CH4 mixing ratio (XCH4), which is being measured increasingly for the assessment of CH4 surface emissions. Chemistry-transport models (CTMs) therefore need to simulate the tropospheric and stratospheric fractional columns of XCH4 accurately for estimating surface emissions from XCH4. Simulations from three CTMs are tested against XCH4 observations from the Total Carbon Column Network (TCCON). We analyze how the model-TCCON agreement in XCH4 depends on the model representation of stratospheric CH4 distributions. Model equivalents of TCCON XCH4 are computed with stratospheric CH4 fields from both the model simulations and from satellite-based CH4 distributions from MIPAS (Michelson Interferometer for Passive Atmospheric Sounding) and MIPAS CH4 fields adjusted to ACE-FTS (Atmospheric Chemistry Experiment Fourier Transform Spectrometer) observations. Using MIPAS-based stratospheric CH4 fields in place of model simulations improves the model-TCCON XCH4 agreement for all models. For the Atmospheric Chemistry Transport Model (ACTM) the average XCH4 bias is significantly reduced from 38.1 to 13.7 ppb, whereas small improvements are found for the models TM5 (Transport Model, version 5; from 8.7 to 4.3 ppb) and LMDz (Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique model with zooming capability; from 6.8 to 4.3 ppb). Replacing model simulations with MIPAS stratospheric CH4 fields adjusted to ACE-FTS reduces the average XCH4 bias for ACTM (3.3 ppb), but increases the average XCH4 bias for TM5 (10.8 ppb) and LMDz (20.0 ppb). These findings imply that model errors in simulating stratospheric CH4 contribute to model biases. Current satellite instruments cannot definitively measure stratospheric CH4 to sufficient accuracy to eliminate these biases. Applying transport diagnostics to the models indicates that model-to-model differences in the simulation of stratospheric transport, notably the age of stratospheric air, can largely explain the inter-model spread in stratospheric CH4 and, hence, its contribution to XCH4. Therefore, it would be worthwhile to analyze how individual model components (e.g., physical parameterization, meteorological data sets, model horizontal/vertical resolution) impact the simulation of stratospheric CH4 and XCH4.

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