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Original Research Papers

A recent build-up of atmospheric CO2 over Europe. Part 1: observed signals and possible explanations

Authors:

Michel Ramonet ,

Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement (LSCE/IPSL), FR
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Philippe Ciais,

Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement (LSCE/IPSL), FR
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Tuula Aalto,

Finnish Meteorological Institute, Air Quality Research, FI
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Céline Aulagnier,

Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement (LSCE/IPSL), FR
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Frédéric Chevallier,

Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement (LSCE/IPSL), FR
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Domenico Cipriano,

Centro Elettrotecnico Sperimentale Italiano, IT
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Thomas J. Conway,

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Earth System Research Laboratory, US
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Laszlo Haszpra,

Hungarian Meteorological Service, HU
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Victor Kazan,

Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement (LSCE/IPSL), FR
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Frank Meinhardt,

Umweltbundesamt, DE
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Jean-Daniel Paris,

Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement (LSCE/IPSL), FR
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Martina Schmidt,

Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement (LSCE/IPSL), FR
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Peter Simmonds,

School of Chemistry, University of Bristol, Bristol, GB
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Iréne Xueref-Rémy,

Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement (LSCE/IPSL), FR
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Jaroslaw N. Necki

AGH University of Science and Technology, PL
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Abstract

We analysed interannual and decadal changes in the atmospheric CO2 concentration gradient (ΔCO2) between Europe and the Atlantic Ocean over the period 1995–2007. Fourteen measurement stations are used, with Mace-Head being used to define background conditions. The variability of ΔCO2 reflects fossil fuel emissions and natural sinks activity over Europe, as well as atmospheric transport variability. The mean ΔCO2 increased by 1–2 ppm at Eastern European stations (∼30% growth), between 1990–1995 and 2000–2005. This built up of CO2 over the continent is predominantly a winter signal. If the observed increase of ΔCO2 is explained by changes in ecosystem fluxes, a loss of about 0.46 Pg C per year would be required during 2000–2005. Even if severe droughts have impacted Western Europe in 2003 and 2005, a sustained CO2 loss of that magnitude is unlikely to be true.We sought alternative explanations for the observed CO2 build-up into transport changes and into regional redistribution of fossil fuel CO2 emissions. Boundary layer heights becoming shallower can only explain 32% of the variance of the signal. Regional changes of emissions may explain up to 27% of the build-up. More insights are given in the Aulagnier et al. companion paper.

How to Cite: Ramonet, M., Ciais, P., Aalto, T., Aulagnier, C., Chevallier, F., Cipriano, D., Conway, T.J., Haszpra, L., Kazan, V., Meinhardt, F., Paris, J.-D., Schmidt, M., Simmonds, P., Xueref-Rémy, I. and Necki, J.N., 2010. A recent build-up of atmospheric CO2 over Europe. Part 1: observed signals and possible explanations. Tellus B: Chemical and Physical Meteorology, 62(1), pp.1–13. DOI: http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0889.2009.00442.x
  Published on 01 Jan 2010
 Accepted on 2 Sep 2009            Submitted on 11 Mar 2009

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