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Comment on amt-2020-444

, Frank Hase, Thomas Blumenstock, Darko Dubravica, Jochen Groß, , Martin Handjaba, Petrus Amadhila, Roland Mushi, , , , Martine de Mazière,
Atmospheric Measurement Techniques Discussions pp 1-42; doi:10.5194/amt-2020-444-rc2

Abstract: In this study we present column-averaged dry-air mole fractions of CO2 (XCO2), CH4 (XCH4) and CO (XCO) from a recently established measurement site in Gobabeb, Namibia. Gobabeb is a hyperarid desert site at the sharp transition zone between the sand desert and the gravel plains, offering unique characteristics with respect to surface albedo properties. Measurements started January 2015 and are performed utilizing a ground-based Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) EM27/SUN spectrometer of the COllaborative Carbon Column Observing Network (COCCON). Gobabeb is the first measurement site observaing XCO2 and XCH4 on the African mainland and improves the global coverage of ground-based remote-sensing sites. In order to achieve the high level of precision and accuracy necessary for meaningful greenhouse gas observations, we performed calibration measurements for eight days between November 2015 and March 2016 with the COCCON reference EM27/SUN spectrometer operated at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. We derived scaling factors for XCO2, XCH4 and XCO with respect to the reference instrument that are close to 1.0. We compare the results obtained in Gobabeb to measurements at Reunion Island and Lauder from the Total Carbon Column Observing Network (TCCON). We choose these TCCON sites because, while 4000 km apart, the instruments at Gobabeb and Reunion Island operate at roughly the same latitude. The Lauder station is the southernmost TCCON station and functions as a background site without a pronounced XCO2 seasonal cycle. We find a good agreement for the absolute Xgas values and representative diurnal variability. Together with the absence of long term drifts this highlights the quality of the COCCON measurements. In Southern hemispheric summer we observe lower XCO2 values at Gobabeb compared to the TCCON stations, likely due to the influence of the African biosphere. We performed coincident measurements with the Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite (GOSAT), where GOSAT observed three nearby specific observation points, over the sand desert south of the station, directly over Gobabeb and over the gravel plains to the north. GOSAT H-gain XCO2 and XCH4 agree with the EM27/SUN measurements within the 1 σ uncertainty limit. The number of coincidence soundings is limited, but we confirm a bias of 1.2–2.6 ppm between GOSAT M-gain and H-gain XCO2 soundings depending on the target point. This is in agreement with results reported by a previous study and the GOSAT validation team. We also report a bias of 5.9–9.8 ppb between GOSAT M-gain and H-gain XCH4 measurements which is within the range given by the GOSAT validation team. Finally we use the COCCON measurements to evaluate inversion-optimized CAMS model data. For XCO2 we find high biases of 0.9 ± 0.5 ppm for the OCO-2 assimilated product and 1.1 ± 0.6 ppm for the in situ-driven product with R2 > 0.9 in both cases. These biases are comparable to reported offsets between the model and TCCON data. The OCO-2 assimilated model product is able to reproduce the drawdown of XCO2 observed by the COCCON instrument beginning of 2017, opposed to the in situ-optimized product. Also for XCH4 the observed biases are in line with prior model comparisons with TCCON.
Keywords: greenhouse / African / EM27/SUN / XCO2 and XCH4 / COCCON measurements / Column / gravel plains / sand desert

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