Comparing atmospheric transport models for future regional inversions over Europe – Part 1: mapping the atmospheric CO<sub>2</sub> signals
Abstract. The CO2 source and sink distribution across Europe can be estimated in principle through inverse methods by combining CO2 observations and atmospheric transport models. Uncertainties of such estimates are mainly due to insufficient spatiotemporal coverage of CO2 observations and biases of the models. In order to assess the biases related to the use of different models the CO2 concentration field over Europe has been simulated with five different Eulerian atmospheric transport models as part of the EU-funded AEROCARB project, which has the main goal to estimate the carbon balance of Europe. In contrast to previous comparisons, here both global coarse-resolution and regional higher-resolution models are included. Continuous CO2 observations from continental, coastal and mountain sites as well as flasks sampled on aircrafts are used to evaluate the models' ability to capture the spatiotemporal variability and distribution of lower troposphere CO2 across Europe. 14CO2 is used in addition to evaluate separately fossil fuel signal predictions. The simulated concentrations show a large range of variation, with up to ~10 ppm higher surface concentrations over Western and Central Europe in the regional models with highest (mesoscale) spatial resolution.