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Local Anomalies in the Column‐Averaged Dry Air Mole Fractions of Carbon Dioxide Across the Globe During the First Months of the Coronavirus Recession


We use a global transport model and satellite retrievals of the carbon dioxide (CO2) column average to explore the impact of CO2 emissions reductions that occurred during the economic downturn at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. The changes in the column averages are substantial in a few places of the model global grid, but the induced gradients are most often less than the random errors of the retrievals. The current necessity to restrict the quality-assured column retrievals to almost cloud-free areas appears to be a major obstacle in identifying changes in CO2 emissions. Indeed, large changes have occurred in the presence of clouds, and in places that were cloud free in 2020, the comparison with previous years is hampered by different cloud conditions during these years. We therefore recommend to favor all-weather CO2 monitoring systems, at least in situ, to support international efforts to reduce emissions.

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