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Marko Scholze

Senior lecturer

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Constraining a terrestrial biosphere model with remotely sensed atmospheric carbon dioxide


  • T. Kaminski
  • M. Scholze
  • M. Vossbeck
  • W. Knorr
  • M. Buchwitz
  • M. Reuter

Summary, in English

We present two novel earth observation products derived from the BESD and EMMA XCO2 products which were respectively retrieved from SCIAMACHY and GOSAT observations within the GreenHouse Gas project of ESA's Climate Change Initiative (GHG-CCI). These products are inferred by a Carbon Cycle Data Assimilation System (CCDAS) and consist of net and gross biosphere-atmosphere fluxes of carbon dioxide on a global 0.5° grid. As a further dataset provided by the CCI, the burnt area product developed by its Fire忌i project was used in the CCDAS to prescribe the emission component from biomass burning. The new flux products are provided with per-pixel uncertainty ranges. Fluxes with uncertainty ranges can also be provided aggregated in space and time, e.g. over given regions or as annual means. For both, posterior flux fields inferred from BESD and EMMA products, transport model simulations show reasonable agreement with the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration observed at flask sampling stations. This means that the information provided by the terrestrial and transport models, the respective GHG ECV product, the burnt area ECV product, a product of the Fraction of Absorbed Photosynthetically Active Radiation used to drive the model, and the atmospheric flask samples is largely consistent. The most prominent feature in the posterior net flux is the tropical source of CO2 inferred from both products. But for the EMMA product this release, especially over South America, is with 300 gC/m2/year much more pronounced than for BESD. This confirms findings by a recent intercomparison of transport inversions using GOSAT data by Houweling et al. (2015). The reason for the larger net flux is increased heterotrophic respiration. For both products the posterior 2010 sink over Europe (without Russia) is in the range of a recent compilation of European flux estimates by Reuter et al. (2016b). The posterior 2010 uptake of Australia (including Oceania) inferred from the EMMA product is 1.3 ± 0.2 PgC/year and appears to confirm the high sink also derived from GOSAT by Detmers et al. (2015) over a slightly different period and area. While for some regions (USA, Canada, Europe, Russia, Asia) the one standard deviation uncertainty ranges derived from BESD and EMMA do overlap, for some other regions (Brazil, Africa, Australia) this is not the case. It is not clear yet whether this is due to the uncertainty specifications in the respective products or the handling of uncertainty in the assimilation chain. Assumptions on correlation of observational uncertainty in space and time have a considerable impact on the inferred flux fields (≈ 60 gC/m2/year). The effect of adding an uncertainty that approximates the error in the retrieval system is of similar size.


  • Dept of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science
  • MERGE: ModElling the Regional and Global Earth system
  • BECC: Biodiversity and Ecosystem services in a Changing Climate

Publishing year







Remote Sensing of Environment



Document type

Journal article




  • Climate Research


  • Carbon fluxes
  • Column integrated carbon dioxide
  • Terrestrial carbon cycle
  • Uncertainty estimation
  • Variational data assimilation




  • ISSN: 0034-4257