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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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Atmos. Meas. Tech., 7, 3035-3057, 2014
© Author(s) 2014. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
18 Sep 2014
Tropospheric CO vertical profiles deduced from total columns using data assimilation: methodology and validation
L. El Amraoui1, J.-L. Attié2,1, P. Ricaud1, W. A. Lahoz3,1, A. Piacentini4, V.-H. Peuch5, J. X. Warner6, R. Abida1, J. Barré7, and R. Zbinden1 1CNRM-GAME, Météo-France and CNRS, UMR3589, Toulouse, France
2Laboratoire d'Aérologie, Université de Toulouse, CNRS/INSU, Toulouse, France
3NILU, 2027 Kjeller, Norway
4CERFACS, Toulouse, France
5ECMWF, Reading, UK
6Department of Atmospheric & Oceanic Science, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, USA
7NCAR, Boulder, USA
Abstract. This paper presents a validation of a method to derive the vertical profile of carbon monoxide (CO) from its total column using data assimilation. We choose version 3 of MOPITT CO total columns to validate the proposed method. MOPITT products have the advantage of providing both the vertical profiles and the total columns of CO. Furthermore, this version has been extensively validated by comparison with many independent data sets, and has been used in many scientific studies.

The first step of the paper consists in the specification of the observation errors based on the chi-square (χ2) test. The observations have been binned according to three types: over land during daytime, over land during night-time, and over sea. Their respective errors using the χ2 metric have been found to be 8, 11 and 7%.

In the second step, the CO total columns, with their specified errors, are used within the assimilation system to estimate the vertical profiles. These are compared to the retrieved profiles of MOPITT V3 at global and regional scales. Generally, the two data sets show similar patterns and good agreement at both scales. Nevertheless, total column analyses slightly overestimate CO concentrations compared to MOPITT observations. The mean bias between both data sets is +15 and +12% at 700 and 250 hPa, respectively.

In the third step, the assimilation of total column has been compared to the assimilation of MOPITT vertical profiles. The differences between both analyses are very small. In terms longitude–latitude maps, the mean bias between the two data sets is +6 and +8% at the pressure levels 700 and 200 hPa, respectively. In terms of zonal means, the CO distribution is similar for both analyses, with a mean bias which does not exceed 12%.

Finally, the two analyses have been validated using independent observations from the aircraft-based MOZAIC program in terms of vertical profiles over eight airports. Over most airports, both analyses agree well with aircraft profiles. For more than 50% of recorded measurements, the difference between the analyses and MOZAIC does not exceed 5 ppbv (parts per billion by volume).

Citation: El Amraoui, L., Attié, J.-L., Ricaud, P., Lahoz, W. A., Piacentini, A., Peuch, V.-H., Warner, J. X., Abida, R., Barré, J., and Zbinden, R.: Tropospheric CO vertical profiles deduced from total columns using data assimilation: methodology and validation, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 7, 3035-3057,, 2014.
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