Transport of carbon dioxide in the presence of storm systems over a northern Wisconsin forest

Michael D. Hurwitz, Daniel M. Ricciuto, Peter S. Bakwin, Kenneth J. Davis, Weiguo Wang, Chiuxiang Yi, Martha P. Butler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Mixing ratios of CO2 often change abruptly in the presence of inclement weather and low pressure systems. Water vapor mixing ratio, temperature, wind speed, and wind direction data are used to infer that the abrupt changes in CO2 mixing ratios at a site in northern Wisconsin are due to tropospheric mixing, horizontal transport, or a combination of both processes. Four different scenarios are examined: the passage of a summer cold front, a summer convective storm, an early spring frontal passage, and a late autumn low pressure system. Each event caused CO2 mixing ratios to change rapidly when compared to biological processes. In one summer convective event, vertical mixing caused CO2 mixing ratios to rise more than 22 ppm in just 90 s. Synoptic-scale transport was also evident in the presence of storm systems and frontal boundaries. In the cases examined, synoptic-scale transport changed CO2 mixing ratios as much as 15 ppm in a 1-h time period. The events selected here represent extremes in the rate of change of boundary layer CO'2 mixing ratios, excluding the commonly observed venting of a shallow, stable boundary layer. The rapid changes in CO2 mixing ratios that were observed imply that large mixing ratio gradients must exist, often over rather small spatial scales, in the troposphere over North America. These rapid changes may be utilized in inverse modeling techniques aimed at identifying sources and sinks of CO2 on regional to continental scales.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)607-618
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


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