TransCom N2O model inter-comparison, Part II: Atmospheric inversion estimates of N2O emissions

R. L. Thompson, K. Ishijima, E. Saikawa, M. Corazza, U. Karstens, P. K. Patra, P. Bergamaschi, F. Chevallier, E. Dlugokencky, R. G. Prinn, R. F. Weiss, S. O'Doherty, P. J. Fraser, L. P. Steele, P. B. Krummel, A. Vermeulen, Y. Tohjima, A. Jordan, L. Haszpra, M. SteinbacherS. Van Der Laan, T. Aalto, F. Meinhardt, M. E. Popa, J. Moncrieff, P. Bousquet

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

2 Citations (Scopus)


This study examines N2O emission estimates from 5 different atmospheric inversion frameworks. The 5 frameworks differ in the choice of atmospheric transport model, meteorological data, prior uncertainties and inversion method but use the same prior emissions and observation dataset. The mean emissions for 2006 to 2008 are compared in terms of the spatial distribution and seasonality. Overall, there is a good agreement among the inversions for the mean global total emission, which ranges from 16.1 to 18.7 Tg N yr-1 and is consistent with previous estimates. Ocean emissions represent between 31% and 38% of the global total compared to widely varying previous estimates of 24% to 38%. Emissions from the northern mid to high latitudes are likely to be more important, with a consistent shift in emissions from the tropics and subtropics to the mid to high latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere; the emission ratio for 0-30 °N to 30-90 °N ranges from 1.5 to 1.9 compared with 2.9 to 3.0 in previous estimates. The largest discrepancies across inversions are seen for the regions of South and East Asia and for tropical and South America owing to the poor observational constraint for these areas and to considerable differences in the modelled transport, especially inter-hemispheric exchange rates and tropical convection. Estimates of the seasonal cycle in N2O emissions are also sensitive to errors in modelled stratosphere-to-troposphere transport in the tropics and southern extra-tropics. Overall, the results show a convergence in the global and regional emissions compared to previous independent studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5271-5321
Number of pages51
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Feb 27 2014


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

Thompson, R. L., Ishijima, K., Saikawa, E., Corazza, M., Karstens, U., Patra, P. K., Bergamaschi, P., Chevallier, F., Dlugokencky, E., Prinn, R. G., Weiss, R. F., O'Doherty, S., Fraser, P. J., Steele, L. P., Krummel, P. B., Vermeulen, A., Tohjima, Y., Jordan, A., Haszpra, L., ... Bousquet, P. (2014). TransCom N2O model inter-comparison, Part II: Atmospheric inversion estimates of N2O emissions. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions, 14(4), 5271-5321.