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Journal article

Evidence of systematic errors in {SCIAMACHY}-observed {CO}$_2$ due to aerosols

Houweling S, Hartmann W, Aben I, Schrijver H, Skidmore J, Roelofs G, Breon F ...see all

Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, vol. 5 (2005) pp. 3003-3013

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{SCIAMACHY} {CO}$_2$ measurements show a large variability in total column {CO}$_2$ over the Sahara desert of up to 10%, which is not anticipated from in situ measurements and cannot be explained by results of atmospheric models. {C}omparisons with colocated aerosol measurements by {TOMS} and {MISR} over the Sahara indicate that the seasonal variation of {SCIAMACHY}-observed {CO}$_2$ strongly resembles seasonal variations of windblown dust. {C}orrelation coefficients of monthly datasets of colocated {MISR} aerosol optical depth and {SCIAMACHY} {CO}$_2$ vary between 0.6 and 0.8, indicating that about half of the {CO}$_2$ variance is explained by aerosol optical depth. {R}adiative transfer model calculations confirm the role of dust and can explain the size of the errors. {S}ensitivity tests suggest that the remaining variance may largely be explained by variations in the vertical distribution of dust. {F}urther calculations for a few typical aerosol classes and a broad range of atmospheric conditions show that the impact of aerosols on {SCIAMACHY} retrieved {CO}$_2$ is by far the largest over the Sahara, but may also reach significant levels elsewhere. {O}ver the continents, aerosols lead mostly to overestimated {CO}$_2$ columns with the exception of biomass burning plumes and dark coniferous forests. {I}nverse modelling calculations confirm that aerosol correction of {SCIAMACHY} {CO}$_2$ measurements is needed to derive meaningful source and sink estimates. {M}ethods for correcting aerosol-induced errors exist, but so far mainly on the basis of theoretical considerations. {A}s demonstrated by this study, {SCIAMACHY} may contribute to a verification of such methods using real data.

Author-supplied keywords

  • north-atlantic ocean; transport models; carbon-dio

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  • S Houweling

  • W Hartmann

  • I Aben

  • H Schrijver

  • J Skidmore

  • G.-J. Roelofs

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