Response of the Amazon carbon balance to the 2010 drought derived with CarbonTracker South America
Laan-Luijkx, I.T. van der; Velde, I.R. van der; Krol, M.C. ; Gatti, L.V. ; Domingues, L.G. ; Correia, C.S.C. ; Miller, J.B. ; Gloor, M. ; Leeuwen, T.T. van; Kaiser, J.W. ; Wiedinmyer, C. ; Basu, S. ; Clerbaux, C. ; Peters, W. - \ 2015
Global Biogeochemical Cycles 29 (2015)7. - ISSN 0886-6236 - p. 1092 - 1108.
Two major droughts in the past decade had large impacts on carbon exchange in the Amazon. Recent analysis of vertical profile measurements of atmospheric CO2 and CO by Gatti et al. (2014) suggests that the 2010 drought turned the normally close-to-neutral annual Amazon carbon balance into a substantial source of nearly 0.5 PgC/yr, revealing a strong drought response. In this study, we revisit this hypothesis and interpret not only the same CO2/CO vertical profile measurements but also additional constraints on carbon exchange such as satellite observations of CO, burned area, and fire hot spots. The results from our CarbonTracker South America data assimilation system suggest that carbon uptake by vegetation was indeed reduced in 2010 but that the magnitude of the decrease strongly depends on the estimated 2010 and 2011 biomass burning emissions. We have used fire products based on burned area (Global Fire Emissions Database version 4), satellite-observed CO columns (Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer), fire radiative power (Global Fire Assimilation System version 1), and fire hot spots (Fire Inventory from NCAR version 1), and found an increase in biomass burning emissions in 2010 compared to 2011 of 0.16 to 0.24 PgC/yr. We derived a decrease of biospheric uptake ranging from 0.08 to 0.26 PgC/yr, with the range determined from a set of alternative inversions using different biomass burning estimates. Our numerical analysis of the 2010 Amazon drought results in a total reduction of carbon uptake of 0.24 to 0.50 PgC/yr and turns the balance from carbon sink to source. Our findings support the suggestion that the hydrological cycle will be an important driver of future changes in Amazonian carbon exchange.
Correction to "Interannual variability of carbon monoxide emission estimates over South America from 2006 to 2010"
Krol, M.C. ; Hooghiemstra, P.B. ; Leeuwen, T.T. van; Werf, G.R. van der; Novelli, P.C. ; Deeter, M.N. ; Aben, I. ; Rockmann, T. - \ 2013
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 118 (2013)10. - ISSN 2169-897X - p. 5061 - 5064.
Dynamic biomass burning emission factors and their impact on atmospheric CO mixing ratios.
Leeuwen, T.T. van; Peters, W. ; Krol, M.C. ; Werf, G.R. van der - \ 2013
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 118 (2013)12. - ISSN 2169-897X - p. 6797 - 6815.
transform infrared-spectroscopy - trace gas emissions - zoom model tm5 - carbon-monoxide - southern africa - fire emissions - burned-area - interannual variability - laboratory measurements - smoldering combustion
 Biomass burning is a major source of trace gases and aerosols, influencing atmospheric chemistry and climate. To quantitatively assess its impact, an accurate representation of fire emissions is crucial for the atmospheric modeling community. So far, most studies rely on static emission factors (EF) which convert estimates of dry matter burned to trace gas and aerosol emissions. These EFs are often based on the arithmetic mean of field measurements stratified by biome, neglecting the variability in time and space. Here we present global carbon monoxide (CO) emission estimates from fires based on six EF scenarios with different spatial and temporal variability, using dry matter emission estimates from the Global Fire Emissions Database (GFED). We used the TM5 model to transport these different bottom-up estimates in the atmosphere and found that including spatial and temporal variability in EFs impacted CO mixing ratios substantially. Most scenarios estimated higher CO mixing ratios (up to 40% more CO from fires during the burning season) over boreal regions compared to the GFED standard run, while a decrease (~15%) was estimated over the continent of Africa. A comparison to atmospheric CO observations showed differences of 10–20¿ppb between the scenarios and systematic deviations from local observations. Although temporal correlations of specific EF scenarios improved for certain regions, an overall “best” set of EFs could not be selected. Our results provide a new set of emission estimates that can be used for sensitivity analyses and highlight the importance of better understanding spatial and temporal variability in EFs for atmospheric studies in general and specifically when using CO or aerosols concentration measurements to top-down constrain fire carbon emissions.
What could have caused pre-industrial biomass burning emissions to exceed current rates?
Werf, G.R. van der; Peters, W. ; Leeuwen, T.T. van; Giglio, L. - \ 2013
Climate of the Past 9 (2013)1. - ISSN 1814-9324 - p. 289 - 306.
rain-forest fires - past 2 millennia - amazonian forests - southern africa - trace gases - model tm5 - land-use - carbon - 20th-century - climate
Recent studies based on trace gas mixing ratios in ice cores and charcoal data indicate that biomass burning emissions over the past millennium exceeded contemporary emissions by up to a factor of 4 for certain time periods. This is surprising because various sources of biomass burning are linked with population density, which has increased over the past centuries. We have analysed how emissions from several landscape biomass burning sources could have fluctuated to yield emissions that are in correspondence with recent results based on ice core mixing ratios of carbon monoxide (CO) and its isotopic signature measured at South Pole station (SPO). Based on estimates of contemporary landscape fire emissions and the TM5 chemical transport model driven by present-day atmospheric transport and OH concentrations, we found that CO mixing ratios at SPO are more sensitive to emissions from South America and Australia than from Africa, and are relatively insensitive to emissions from the Northern Hemisphere. We then explored how various landscape biomass burning sources may have varied over the past centuries and what the resulting emissions and corresponding CO mixing ratio at SPO would be, using population density variations to reconstruct sources driven by humans (e.g., fuelwood burning) and a new model to relate savanna emissions to changes in fire return times. We found that to match the observed ice core CO data, all savannas in the Southern Hemisphere had to burn annually, or bi-annually in combination with deforestation and slash and burn agriculture exceeding current levels, despite much lower population densities and lack of machinery to aid the deforestation process. While possible, these scenarios are unlikely and in conflict with current literature. However, we do show the large potential for increased emissions from savannas in a pre-industrial world. This is mainly because in the past, fuel beds were probably less fragmented compared to the current situation; satellite data indicates that the majority of savannas have not burned in the past 10 yr, even in Africa, which is considered "the burning continent". Although we have not considered increased charcoal burning or changes in OH concentrations as potential causes for the elevated CO concentrations found at SPO, it is unlikely they can explain the large increase found in the CO concentrations in ice core data. Confirmation of the CO ice core data would therefore call for radical new thinking about causes of variable global fire rates over recent centuries
Interannual variability of carbon monoxide emission estimates over South America from 2006 to 2010
Hooghiemstra, P.B. ; Krol, M.C. ; Leeuwen, T.T. van; Werf, G.R. van der; Novelli, P.C. ; Deeter, M.N. ; Aben, I. ; Rockmann, T. - \ 2012
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 117 (2012). - ISSN 2169-897X
variational data assimilation - land-use change - climate-change - co emissions - amazon deforestation - brazilian amazon - fire emissions - model tm5 - mopitt - inversion
We present the first inverse modeling study to estimate CO emissions constrained by both surface and satellite observations. Our 4D-Var system assimilates National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Earth System Research Laboratory (NOAA/ESRL) Global Monitoring Division (GMD) surface and Measurements Of Pollution In The Troposphere (MOPITT) satellite observations jointly by fitting a bias correction scheme. This approach leads to the identification of a positive bias of maximum 5 ppb in MOPITT column-averaged CO mixing ratios in the remote Southern Hemisphere (SH). The 4D-Var system is used to estimate CO emissions over South America in the period 2006-2010 and to analyze the interannual variability (IAV) of these emissions. We infer robust, high spatial resolution CO emission estimates that show slightly smaller IAV due to fires compared to the Global Fire Emissions Database (GFED3) prior emissions. South American dry season (August and September) biomass burning emission estimates amount to 60, 92, 42, 16 and 93 Tg CO/yr for 2006 to 2010, respectively. Moreover, CO emissions probably associated with pre-harvest burning of sugar cane plantations in Sao Paulo state are underestimated in current inventories by 50-100%. We conclude that climatic conditions (such as the widespread drought in 2010) seem the most likely cause for the IAV in biomass burning CO emissions. However, socio-economic factors (such as the growing global demand for soy, beef and sugar cane ethanol) and associated deforestation fires, are also likely as drivers for the IAV of CO emissions, but are difficult to link directly to CO emissions.