Simulating the integrated summertime Delta(CO2)-C-14 signature from anthropogenic emissions over Western Europe

Bozhinova, D., van der Molen, M. K., van der Velde, I. R., Krol, M. C., van der Laan, S., Meijer, H. A. J. and Peters, W. (2014) Simulating the integrated summertime Delta(CO2)-C-14 signature from anthropogenic emissions over Western Europe. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions (ACPD), 14 (14). pp. 7273-7290. ISSN 1680-7316

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Abstract

Radiocarbon dioxide ((CO2)-C-14, reported in Delta(CO2)-C-14) can be used to determine the fossil fuel CO2 addition to the atmosphere, since fossil fuel CO2 no longer contains any C-14. After the release of CO2 at the source, atmospheric transport causes dilution of strong local signals into the background and detectable gradients of Delta(CO2)-C-14 only remain in areas with high fossil fuel emissions. This fossil fuel signal can moreover be partially masked by the enriching effect that anthropogenic emissions of (CO2)-C-14 from the nuclear industry have on the atmospheric Delta(CO2)-C-14 signature. In this paper, we investigate the regional gradients in (CO2)-C-14 over the European continent and quantify the effect of the emissions from nuclear industry. We simulate the emissions and transport of fossil fuel CO2 and nuclear (CO2)-C-14 for Western Europe using the Weather Research and Forecast model (WRF-Chem) for a period covering 6 summer months in 2008. We evaluate the expected CO2 gradients and the resulting 1 (CO2)-C-14 in simulated integrated air samples over this period, as well as in simulated plant samples. We find that the average gradients of fossil fuel CO2 in the lower 1200 m of the atmosphere are close to 15 ppm at a 12 km x 12 km horizontal resolution. The nuclear influence on Delta(CO2)-C-14 signatures varies considerably over the domain and for large areas in France and the UK it can range from 20 to more than 500% of the influence of fossil fuel emissions. Our simulations suggest that the resulting gradients in Delta(CO2)-C-14 are well captured in plant samples, but due to their time-varying uptake of CO2, their signature can be different with over 3% from the atmospheric samples in some regions. We conclude that the framework presented will be well-suited for the interpretation of actual air and plant (CO2)-C-14 samples.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: fossil-fuel co2,carbon-dioxide,atmospheric co2,field campaign,(co2)-c-14 observations,transport models,c-14 discharges,mixing ratios,radiocarbon,cycle
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2015 13:00
Last Modified: 24 Jul 2019 21:37
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/55743
DOI: 10.5194/acp-14-7273-2014

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