Attempt to identify sources of atmospheric methane and carbon dioxide concentrations found in in situ aircraft measurements over Southern Australia

Ryu Saito, Jörg M. Hacker, Gen Inoue, Tatsuya Yokota

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Abstract

Identifying the sources and sinks of methane and carbon dioxide is important for understanding processes within the Earth's climate system. This paper attempts to use back trajectories to identify sources of atmospheric methane and carbon dioxide as measured by high resolution in situ gas analyzers during aircraft ascents and descents in Southern Australia. Results from the back trajectory analysis were confirmed by also performing a forward trajectory analysis on some of the data. The in situ aircraft measurements were part of a joint Japanese-Australia field campaign in March and April 2007 near Adelaide, South Australia. The vertical profiles showed considerable variation in methane and carbon dioxide content above the planetary boundary layer. We used back trajectories based on an atmospheric transport model to derive the origin of the air masses which enabled speculation about sources of the gases. We were thus able to identify emission from the volcanoes on Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean and the seafloor hydrothermal activity in the Southeast Indian Ridge, confirming speculations published earlier by other research teams.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberD14108
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Volume113
Issue numberD14
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jul 2008

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