Moist synoptic transport of CO2 along the mid-latitude storm track

N. C. Parazoo, A. S. Denning, J. A. Berry, A. Wolf, D. A. Randall, S. R. Kawa, O. Pauluis, S. C. Doney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Atmospheric mixing ratios of CO2 are strongly seasonal in the Arctic due to mid-latitude transport. Here we analyze the seasonal influence of moist synoptic storms by diagnosing CO2 transport from a global model on moist isentropes (to represent parcel trajectories through stormtracks) and parsing transport into eddy and mean components. During winter when northern plants respire, warm moist air, high in CO2, is swept poleward into the polar vortex, while cold dry air, low in CO2, that had been transported into the polar vortex earlier in the year is swept equatorward. Eddies reduce seasonality in mid-latitudes by ∼50% of NEE (∼100% of fossil fuel) while amplifying seasonality at high latitudes. Transport along stormtracks is correlated with rising, moist, cloudy air, which systematically hides this CO2 transport from satellites. We recommend that (1) regional inversions carefully account for meridional transport and (2) inversion models represent moist and frontal processes with high fidelity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL09804
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 16 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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