Atmospheric transport simulations in support of the Carbon in Arctic Reservoirs Vulnerability Experiment (CARVE)

Author: John M. Henderson, Marikate Mountain and Thomas Nehrkorn
April 21, 2015
Journal Article
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics

Henderson, J. M., Eluszkiewicz, J., Mountain, M. E., Nehrkorn, T., Chang, R. Y.-W., Karion, A., Miller, J. B., Sweeney, C., Steiner, N., Wofsy, S. C., and Miller, C. E.: Atmospheric transport simulations in support of the Carbon in Arctic Reservoirs Vulnerability Experiment (CARVE), Atmos. Chem. Phys., 15, 4093-4116, doi:10.5194/acp-15-4093-2015, 2015.


Abstract. This paper describes the atmospheric modeling that underlies the Carbon in Arctic Reservoirs Vulnerability Experiment (CARVE) science analysis, including its meteorological and atmospheric transport components (polar variant of the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) and Stochastic Time Inverted Lagrangian Transport (STILT) models), and provides WRF validation for May–October 2012 and March–November 2013 – the first 2 years of the aircraft field campaign. A triply nested computational domain for WRF was chosen so that the innermost domain with 3.3 km grid spacing encompasses the entire mainland of Alaska and enables the substantial orography of the state to be represented by the underlying high-resolution topographic input field. Summary statistics of the WRF model performance on the 3.3 km grid indicate good overall agreement with quality-controlled surface and radiosonde observations. Two-meter temperatures are generally too cold by approximately 1.4 K in 2012 and 1.1 K in 2013, while 2 m dewpoint temperatures are too low (dry) by 0.2 K in 2012 and too high (moist) by 0.6 K in 2013. Wind speeds are biased too low by 0.2 m s−1 in 2012 and 0.3 m s−1 in 2013. Model representation of upper level variables is very good. These measures are comparable to model performance metrics of similar model configurations found in the literature. The high quality of these fine-resolution WRF meteorological fields inspires confidence in their use to drive STILT for the purpose of computing surface influences ("footprints") at commensurably increased resolution. Indeed, footprints generated on a 0.1° grid show increased spatial detail compared with those on the more common 0.5° grid, better allowing for convolution with flux models for carbon dioxide and methane across the heterogeneous Alaskan landscape. Ozone deposition rates computed using STILT footprints indicate good agreement with observations and exhibit realistic seasonal variability, further indicating that WRF-STILT footprints are of high quality and will support accurate estimates of CO2 and CH4 surface–atmosphere fluxes using CARVE observations.