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Shipboard measurements and modeling of the distribution of CH4 and (CH4)-C-13 in the western Pacific
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2012 (English)In: Journal of Geophysical Research, ISSN 0148-0227, E-ISSN 2156-2202, Vol. 117, D04307- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We present observations of methane (CH4) mixing ratio and C-13/C-12 isotopic ratios in CH4 (delta C-13) data from a collaborative shipboard project using bulk carrier ships sailing between Nelson, New Zealand, and Osaka, Japan, in the western Pacific Ocean. Measurements of the CH4 mixing ratio and delta C-13 in CH4 were obtained from large clean-air samples collected in each 2.5 degrees to 5 degrees of latitude between 30 degrees S and 30 degrees N on eight voyages from 2004 to 2007. The data show large variations in CH4 mixing ratio in the tropical western Pacific, and data analysis suggests that these large variations are related to the positions and strengths of the South Pacific Convergence Zone and the Intertropical Convergence Zone, with variability in the sources playing a much smaller role. These measurements are compared with results from a modified version of the Unified Model (UMeth) general circulation model along two transects, one similar to the ship transects and another 18.75 degrees to the east. Although UMeth was run to a steady state with the same sources and sinks each year, the gradient structures varied considerably from year to year, supporting our conclusion that variability in transport is a major driver for the observed variations in CH4. Simulations forced with an idealized representation of the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) suggest that a large component of the observed variability in latitudinal gradients of CH4 and its delta C-13 arises from intrinsic variability in the climate system that does not occur on ENSO time scales.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 117, D04307- p.
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Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-76992DOI: 10.1029/2011JD016494ISI: 000300796700002OAI: diva2:529088
7Available from: 2012-05-29 Created: 2012-05-28 Last updated: 2012-05-29Bibliographically approved

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Struthers, Hamish
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Department of Meteorology Department of Applied Environmental Science (ITM)
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