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Original Research Papers

Reconstructing the recent carbon cycle from atmospheric CO2, δ13C and O2/N2 observations*

Authors:

P. J. Rayner ,

Cooperative Research Centre for Southern Hemisphere Meteorology, Monash University, Clayton, AU
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I. G. Enting,

Cooperative Research Centre for Southern Hemisphere Meteorology, Monash University, Clayton, AU
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R. J. Francey,

CSIRO Division of Atmospheric Research, Aspendale, AU
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R. Langenfelds

CSIRO Division of Atmospheric Research, Aspendale, AU
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Abstract

This paper presents an attempt to recover the space–time structure of fluxes of CO2 to the atmosphere over the period 1980–1995 from atmospheric concentration and isotopic composition measurements. The technique used is Bayesian synthesis inversion in which sources are aggregated into large regions and their strengths adjusted to match observed concentrations. The sources are constrained by prior estimates based on a priori knowledge. The input data are atmospheric CO2 concentration measurements from the NOAA/CMDL network, 13CO2 composition and O2/N2 ratios measured at Cape Grim, Tasmania by CSIRO Atmospheric Research. The primary findings are a relatively large long-term mean ocean uptake of CO2, and seasonal fluxes over land with similar integrated magnitude, but smaller peak amplitude, compared with those derived by Fung and co-workers. Predicted interannual variability is smaller than reported in previous studies. The largest contributor is the oceanic tropics where fluxes vary on the time scale of the southern oscillation. There is evidence of longer time-scale variation in land uptake. Increases in ocean uptake and northern land uptake in the early 1990s are consistent with a response to the Mt. Pinatubo eruption.

How to Cite: Rayner, P.J., Enting, I.G., Francey, R.J. and Langenfelds, R., 1999. Reconstructing the recent carbon cycle from atmospheric CO2, δ13C and O2/N2 observations*. Tellus B: Chemical and Physical Meteorology, 51(2), pp.213–232. DOI: http://doi.org/10.3402/tellusb.v51i2.16273
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  Published on 01 Jan 1999
 Accepted on 1 Dec 1998            Submitted on 7 Jan 1998

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