Latitudinal and Altitudinal Distribution of Carbon Dioxide, Halocarbons, Nitrous Oxide, Methane, Carbon Monoxide and Hydroxyl in the Atmosphere

Kroeze C (1992). Latitudinal and Altitudinal Distribution of Carbon Dioxide, Halocarbons, Nitrous Oxide, Methane, Carbon Monoxide and Hydroxyl in the Atmosphere. IIASA Working Paper. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: WP-92-038

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Abstract

Due to human activities, atmospheric concentrations of several gases have been increasing during the past century. Some of these gases are so-called greenhouse gases and play an important role in the earth's climate. Increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases may ultimately result in global climate change. In order to investigate regional effects of the enhanced greenhouse effect, 1- to 3-dimensional computer simulation models are being developed. For the calculation of radiative transfer through the atmosphere, these models require basic information with regard to the latitudinal and/or altitudinal distribution of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

The purpose of this study is to give an overview of the spatial variations of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. Data from several measurement programs are used to obtain first order estimates of latitudinal and height profiles of carbon dioxide (CO2), several halocarbons (CFC-11, CFC-12, CFC-113, HCFC-22, CH3CCl3 and CCl4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and methane (CH4). Also carbon monoxide (CO) and hydroxyl (OH) are considered because these gases may influence CH4 concentrations. An attempt is made to explain the observed gradients qualitatively. If possible, some conclusions are drawn with regard to the preindustrial and future distributions of the gases.

The results show that the present concentrations of all greenhouse gases at the earth's surface are higher in the northern than in the southern hemisphere. The main reason for this may be the fact that most emissions of these gases originate from the northern hemisphere. The profiles with height differ for the gases. In case the main sink is located in the stratosphere (for instance for CFCs and N2O), a steep gradient with height is observed above the tropopause.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Working Paper)
Research Programs: Environmental Change & Development (ECD)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 02:02
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2016 11:05
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/3660

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