“Well mixed” Carbon Dioxide Part 2: Sources and Sinks

Following from Part 1 (North vs South), this post looks at current sources and sinks for CO2.

Here are some images of surface CO2 concentration for today (June 26 in Australia) from nullschool.

Darker areas show lower CO2, lighter areas are higher.  I recommend the nullschool site!



The industrialised Ruhr valley appears to have the highest CO2 concentration.  Paris Berlin and London are difficult to identify however.

South America (Argentina):

Buenos Aires

The high concentration appears to be from Buenos Aires- perhaps the satellite image of the CO2 is 200 km off target?

China, Korea, and Japan:

China Korea Japan

The highest concentration appears to be close to Japan’s larger cities.  Eastern China, including Shanghai and Beijing, is around 402ppm.

Southern Africa:

S Africa

Kinshasa and Johannesburg are close to the high concentrations, but dry season fires could also be the cause.



Oddly, the high concentration is to the south west and west of Hanoi in a rural region.



A large part of the USA seems to be one vast carbon sink at the moment.  New York and Chicago areas could be associated with some higher CO2, and there are those two areas in California, one of which I identified as Los Angeles in the previous post.  Now I’m not so sure.  More later.

Kamchatka yesterday:

high co2 kamchatchka peninsula

And today:

kamchatchka peninsula 26 june

The Kamchatka Peninsula features many active volcanoes and that’s what I think we are seeing here.  Yesterday afternoon the concentration peaked at 509ppm and today is down a lot but the “hot spots” are still distinct.



Again inland eastern Australia is a carbon sink with large areas under 390ppm.  Melbourne may be the cause of a 408ppm area, but where is Sydney? Brisbane? Perth? Adelaide?

Southern California:


Note San Francisco does not appear to have over high CO2.  One of the high areas is indeed over the Los Angeles area, but the other is in the mountains to the north:  Kern County to be precise, where a bushfire has broken out.  The other ‘haze’ appears to be from the Santa Barbara fire.  See this map of fire locations.

firemap usa

It seems to me that it is hard to identify strong sources of CO2 associated with the world’s large cities and industrial areas.  However, it is the weekend, so perhaps this will change during the coming week.  We shall see.

On the other hand, very strong sources of CO2 can be traced to volcanoes and bushfires, and also decaying vegetation in the dry season.  Sinks as we have seen are clearly associated with rapidly growing crops, grasslands, and forests.

And today the Equatorial Pacific sink appears to match the cooler water being pushed westwards by the strengthening trade winds.  See for yourself at nullschool.

I will continue to monitor these sources and sinks as the seasons progress.


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5 Responses to ““Well mixed” Carbon Dioxide Part 2: Sources and Sinks”

  1. Geoff Sherrington Says:

    Hi Ken,

    Units of measurement might be worth a visit.
    Mauna Loa is quite elevated compared to Cape Grim and South Pole is in the middle.
    Question, have you ever seen a lapse rate diagram for CO2?
    Traditionally, CO2 is measured as parts per million by volume.
    So, as the density of atmosphere changes with height, can we expect CO2 to hold a steady figure like 400 ppm? Is there a height where the atmosphere becomes so dilute that 400 ppm CO2 means a different entity than 400 ppm at sea level?
    Even at sea level, because of the barometric pressure differences from place to place, should the CO2 abundance be expresed as relative to a fixed pressure?
    I wonder if some of your maps might be showing some of these effects, for which I have no answers yet. Still thinking. Anyone seen papers that investigate these matters?

  2. kenskingdom Says:

    Hi Geoff. The measurement is of concentration at the surface of land or water. Not sure how pressure difference affects it. Look at some high or low pressure systems- CO2 doesn’t seem to change across them so it may be corrected. Don’t know.

  3. ngard2016 Says:

    O/T , Anthony Watts has just put up a good post on the latest UAH V6 June temp anomaly. Temps are dropping fast as the el nino fades and it will be interesting to see Ken’s post based on this data.
    I can’t get the graphs to load properly at Roy Spencer’s blog today.


  4. ngard2016 Says:

    This last graph at WUWT post shows June temp has already dropped to about the end of Oct monthly number in 1998.

  5. Macha Says:

    Have you tried looking at ozone changes at poles on nullschoolearth? Check out Erl happ site reality348.wordpress.com

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