Dissertation > Astronomy,Earth Sciences > Atmospheric science (meteorology ) > General theory and methods > Atmospheric Chemistry

Re-analysis and Evaluation of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4) and Carbon Monoxide (CO) at Mount Waliguan, China

Author ZhangFang
Tutor ZhangXiaoYe;ZhouLing
School Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences
Course Meteorology
Keywords atmosphere Greenhouse gases trajectory and cluster temporal and spatial variation potential source region sources and sinks
CLC P402
Type PhD thesis
Year 2011
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Mixing ratios of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and carbon monoxide (CO) observed at Mount Waliguan (WLG), a global background station in remote western China, were re-analyzed and evaluated. The data periods are 19952008, 20022006 and July 2004June 2007 for CO2, CH4 and CO respectively. Corrections for drift in reference gases were also included in the data revision according to the history calibrations and intercomparison experiments. The measurement data of CO2, CH4 and CO at WLG have been updated to latest X2007, NOAA04 and WMO2000 scale respectively. Data treatment and quality control procedure has also been established to improve scientific use and application of the data. A mathematical procedure based on robust local regression was applied to distinguish background and non-background data, as is actually to classify the impact of regional emissions or influence of polluted air parcel. From 1995 to 2008, approximately 72%±5%, 17%±4% and 11%±2% of all observed CO2 data have been selected as background, polluted and sink data, respectively. The percent for polluted CO2 data increased from 14-15% in 1995-2000 to 18-19%, reflecting enhanced impact from human activities (e.g. fossil fuel emissions) in recent years; the percent of data representing CO2 sinks didn’t change much (10-14%) indicating a relatively constant uptakes from terrestrial ecosystems in the region. However, the more polluted (elevated) than the uptakes CO2 suggested an imbalance between emissions and sinks for atmospheric CO2 there during the past 15 years at WLG. By this method, about 58% and 52% of all data were selected as CH4 and CO background data, respectively, indicating significant influences from regional emissions/sources.By analyzing 5d back-trajectory (500hPa) of 19972008 at WLG, it showed air parcels arriving at WLG were predominately from the west, except in summer when advection from the east and southeast prevailed. >90% of trajectories from the east typically brought polluted air to the site, having passed over populated urban areas upwind. The case study combined with trajectory analysis showed the episode of high CO2, CH4 and CO mixing ratios were associated with advection from the heavily populated regions east or southeast (e.g. Xining and Lanzhou) of WLG and northwest of Qinghai via Ge’ermu urban area where growing industrial activities as well as crops residue burning provide large sources of CO suggesting a large source area due to human activities; whereas, the low values were observed most frequently when air masses originated from the sparsely populated Tibet and south of Qinghai and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (XUAR). By combining the observed data with trajectory-based statistics and cluster analysis, it has been demonstrated that air masses originating from the east to southeast of WLG have the strongest impact on CO and CH4, however, only in summer transport from this direction significant. In the other seasons, air parcels arriving via the northwest are more common. These exhibit both background and polluted characteristics. Air from the central XUAR and the Ge’ermu urban area have show enhanced CO and CO2 levels due to the growing economy in west China as well as biomass burning in the region. Air parcels coming from the sparsely populated Tibet contribute least to enhance all CO2, CH4 and CO values observed at WLG. It should be noticed that mixing ratios of atmospheric CH4 would be enhanced when air masses originated from Ningxia and northwest of Gansu agriculture areas (mainly growing rice) along the Yellow river region, especially in summer. The probability that air parcels pass over regions of clean or polluted regions were further identified using potential source contribution function (PSCF) analysis, and all the CO2, CH4 and CO displayed similar source region distribution as above described. Intercorrelation of atmospheric CO2、CH4 and CO above the background showed a very well correlation (r2>0.7, p<0.01) in winter probably in account of their common sources being mainly from fossil fuel and biomass burning. Hence, CO2 and CH4 emissions from fossil fuel have been estimated by using CO ratio method. Emissions for CO2 in China were 6214.7 Mt in 2005 and 6320.6Mt in 2006 respectively, which is similar to the results by statistical method. Emissions for CH4 in China were 16.44 Mt in 2005 and 20.11 Mt in 2006.Regarding diurnal variation of atmospheric CO2 mixing ratios based on observed data from 1995 to 2008, it has been found that atmospheric CO2 showed higher during daytime and lower in early morning and nighttime in spring and winter, the highest mixing ratios most frequently occurred at 11:0015:00 when residents’activities (i.g. grazing, heating) increased, but in the cold season photosynthesis is very weak and make no significant impact on CO2 levels. Whereas mixing ratios of CO2 exhibited daytime minimum and nighttime maximum in summer and autumn, the lowest CO2 mixing ratios presented at 16:0018:00, as mainly due to the enhanced uptake of CO2 by vegetations in summer in north hemisphere. In addition, the meteorological conditions of strong convection in summer are also advantageous to pollution diffusion and will decrease CO2 mixing ratios during daytime. Meanwhile, effects of temperature inversion during evening or early morning at high altitude site like WLG also would accumulate CO2 mixing ratios. Averaged diurnal variation of CO2 displayed largest in summer with amplitude of 2.3ppm (part per million) but only with 0.7ppm both in spring and summer, suggesting differences in carbon exchange between terrestrial ecosystems and atmosphere attribute to plant growing cycle over one year. Diurnal variation of atmospheric CH4 and CO based on data during 20022006 and during July 2004June 2007 respectively showed a similar pattern with CO2 in all seasons, but with different causes of the lower mixing ratios for CO and CH4 during daytime in summer. As we known, it’s because of photosynthesis for lower CO2 mixing ratios in the afternoon; however, the mainly impelling force is photochemical reaction with OH radicals which would decrease mixing ratios of CH4 and CO during daytime in summer.The averaged CO2 seasonal cycle from 1995 to 2008 at WLG displayed April maximum and August minimum, declining rapidly in late spring and early summer (from May to June) and increasing in autumn (from September to November) mainly caused by plant and soil respiration as well as plant photosynthesis. The overall characteristic is similar to that of observed at Mauna Loa, Schneefernerhaus and Niwot Ridge, but exhibiting certain phase delay mainly influenced by the differences in interaction of regional sources/sinks as well as the underlying surfaces. The averaged CH4 seasonal cycle during 20022006 showed minimum in spring and winter, maximum in summer (from June to August), as is totally opposite to that of observed at Mauna Loa and Niwot Ridge. The high levels of CH4 at WLG should be attributed to enhancing regional/local sources (i.g. herd) around the site as well as the dominant polluted air flow from southeast region in summer. Another possible reason is, compared to Mauna Loa and Niwot Ridge, the photochemical effect at WLG (located at higher latitude) is weaker, as means CH4 sink is smaller than that of at these sites with lower latitude in summer. Seasonal cycle of atmospheric CO mixing ratios from July 2004 to June 2007 exhibited maximum in spring (March and April) and minimum in autumn (September and October). This is in good agreement with the variability observed at Jungfraujoch, Niwot Ridge and Mauna Loa. Averaged seasonal amplitude of CO2, CH4 and CO during the observed periods was 9.0ppm, 11ppb (part per billion) and 26ppb, respectively. Mixing ratios of atmospheric CO2 increased exponentially, as is well agree with the trend observed at Mauna Loa. The growth rate of has accelerated since measurements began at WLG in 1991 where CO2 increased from nearly 1.3 part per million per year (ppm yr-1) in 1991-1995 (the data before 1994 obtained from flask measurement at WLG) to 2.4ppm yr-1 in the recent years, but with large year to year variations, as is closely associated with the climate events (e.g. El Nino).Preliminary results of isotope effect on measuring CO2 mixing ratios by using different techniques or systems showed that the differences are within±1.0ppm for the samples with natural abundances del13C(-7.7-9.0‰) of CO2; The differences could increase to 10ppm when del13C decrease to about -25.0‰. And also we found that both high CO2 concentration and low del13C can lead to large measurement bias by different techniques. However it is still need further studies to demonstrate this conclusion and to calibrate the bias due to the istope effect qutitativly.

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