New applications of continuous atmospheric O2 measurements: meridional transects across the Atlantic Ocean, and improved quantification of fossil fuel‐derived CO2

Pickers, Penelope (2016) New applications of continuous atmospheric O2 measurements: meridional transects across the Atlantic Ocean, and improved quantification of fossil fuel‐derived CO2. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

High precision, continuous measurements of atmospheric O2 and CO2 are a
valuable tool for gaining insight into carbon cycle processes, and for separating land
biospheric, oceanic and fossil fuel fluxes of CO2. This thesis presents a new
atmospheric O2 and CO2 measurement system that has been deployed on board a
commercial container ship, travelling continuously between Germany (~55°N) and
Argentina (~35°S). These data are the first ongoing atmospheric O2 measurements
across the Atlantic Ocean, closing a gap in the global atmospheric O2 network.
The Atlantic meridional transects of atmospheric O2 and CO2 display
latitudinally‐varying seasonality. The annual mean latitudinal gradient in APO
(Atmospheric Potential Oxygen; a tracer derived from O2 and CO2 measurements)
does not show a pronounced bulge at the equator, in contrast to observations across
the Pacific Ocean.
Atmospheric O2 and CO2 measurements from Norfolk, UK are used to
demonstrate a novel method for quantifying fossil fuel derived CO2 (ffCO2), using APO
data. This APO ffCO2 quantification method is more precise than the frequently‐used
CO tracer method, owing to a smaller range of APO:CO2 fossil fuel emission ratios
compared to the CO:CO2 range. A sensitivity analysis of the fossil fuel emission ratios
also indicates that the APO method is very likely more accurate than the CO method,
and can therefore be used independently of 14CO2 measurements (unlike the CO
method), which are costly and highly unreliable in many UK regions, owing to nuclear
power plant influences.
These new applications of atmospheric O2 measurements have significant
future potential. The shipboard data can be used to test and improve global climate
model estimates of meridional oceanic heat and carbon transport in the Atlantic.
Using APO to quantify ffCO2 has significant policy relevance, with the potential to
provide more accurate and more precise top‐down verification of fossil fuel
emissions.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Jackie Webb
Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2017 14:57
Last Modified: 10 Jan 2017 14:57
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/61979
DOI:

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