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Original Research Papers

Vertical profiles of biospheric and fossil fuel-derived CO2 and fossil fuel CO2 :CO ratios from airborne measurements of Δ14C, CO2 and CO above Colorado, USA

Authors:

Heather D. Graven ,

Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California - San Diego, US
About Heather D.
Now at: Institute for Biogeochemistry and Pollutant Dynamics, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.
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Britton B. Stephens,

National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, US
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Thomas P. Guilderson,

Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; Department of Ocean Sciences, University of California - Santa Cruz, US
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Teresa L. Campos,

National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, US
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David S. Schimel,

National Ecological Observatory Network, Boulder, US
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J. Elliott Campbell,

College of Engineering, University of California-Merced, US
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Ralph F. Keeling

Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California - San Diego, US
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Abstract

Measurements of Δ14C in atmospheric CO2 are an effective method of separating CO2 additions from fossil fuel and biospheric sources or sinks of CO2. We illustrate this technique with vertical profiles of CO2 and Δ14C analysed in whole air flask samples collected above Colorado, USA in May and July 2004. Comparison of lower tropospheric composition to cleaner air at higher altitudes (>5 km) revealed considerable additions from respiration in the morning in both urban and rural locations. Afternoon concentrations were mainly governed by fossil fuel emissions and boundary layer depth, also showing net biospheric CO2 uptake in some cases. We estimate local industrial CO2:CO emission ratios using in situ measurements of CO concentration. Ratios are found to vary by 100% and average 57 mole CO2:1 mole CO, higher than expected from emissions inventories. Uncertainty in CO2 from different sources was ±1.1 to ±4.1 ppm for addition or uptake of −4.6 to 55.8 ppm, limited by Δ14C measurement precision and uncertainty in background Δ14C and CO2 levels.

How to Cite: Graven, H.D., Stephens, B.B., Guilderson, T.P., Campos, T.L., Schimel, D.S., Campbell, J.E. and Keeling, R.F., 2009. Vertical profiles of biospheric and fossil fuel-derived CO2 and fossil fuel CO2 :CO ratios from airborne measurements of Δ14C, CO2 and CO above Colorado, USA. Tellus B: Chemical and Physical Meteorology, 61(3), pp.536–546. DOI: http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0889.2009.00421.x
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  Published on 01 Jan 2009
 Accepted on 3 Mar 2009            Submitted on 22 Aug 2008

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