L. Qian, et al.
Carbon dioxide trends in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 122(4), 4474-4488, 2017; doi: 10.1002/2016JA023825
upper atmosphere CO2


We investigated trends of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the upper atmosphere, using data from the Atmosphere Chemistry Experiment Fourier Transform Spectrometer and from the Sounding of the Atmosphere using Broadband Emission Radiometry. Recent analyses of these measurements had indicated that CO2 above approximately 90‚ÄČkm appeared to be increasing about twice as fast as it was in the lower atmosphere. Models could not reproduce this differential CO2 trend, calculating instead that the proportional CO2 increase is approximately constant with altitude. We found three issues with the methodologies used to derive trends from CO2 profiles: the way that seasonal changes and sampling are accounted for in the analysis, referred to as deseasonalizing; the registration of profiles in pressure versus altitude coordinates; and data quality indicators. Each of these can have significant effects on the derivation of trends. We applied several deseasonalizing procedures, using both pressure and altitude coordinates, also used a time series fit without deseasonalizing, and applied data quality filters. The derived trends were approximately constant with pressure or altitude, about 5.5% per decade, consistent with lower atmosphere CO2 trends, and consistent with model calculations. We conclude that the difference between the trend of CO2 above the CO2 homopause and the trend in the lower, well-mixed atmosphere is not statistically significant.


  author = "L. Qian and A. G. Burns and S. C. Solomon and W. Wang",
  title = "Carbon dioxide trends in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere",
  year = 2017,
  journal = "Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics",
  publisher = "AGU Publications",
  volume = 122,
  number = 4,
  pages = "4474-4488",
  month = "Apr",
  keywords = "upper atmosphere, CO2",
  doi = "10.1002/2016JA023825",
  url = ""
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