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Asia-Pacific Workshop on Carbon Cycle Observations

The Asia-Pacific Workshop on Carbon Cycle Observations (APWSCCO) was held from March 17 to March 19, 2008 at the National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES) in Tsukuba, Japan. The APWSCCO was organized by the Japanese Alliance for Climate Change Observation (JACCO) supported by the Ministry of the Environment (MOE); the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA); and the Center for Global Environmental Research (CGER), a body within the National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES). There were a total of 65 participants (about 25 scientists and specialists from Australia, China, France, India, New Zealand, South Korea and Thailand, and about 40 scientists and specialists from Japanese ministries, agencies, institutes and universities). This workshop aimed to discuss how to develop a comprehensive and integrated climate change observation system in the Asia-Pacific region that takes user needs into consideration. In particular, this workshop focused on atmospheric, oceanic and terrestrial carbon cycle observations. The APWSCCO consisted of a plenary session and four parallel sessions (you can see a detailed agenda at The purpose of the plenary session was to exchange information from each parallel session and discuss future collaborations regarding carbon cycle observations (you can see the presentation materials at: There were four parallel sessions to discuss each topic in more detail.

Summary Report for Plenary Session

Drs. Shin Miyazaki and Ai Leon, Office for Coordination of Climate Change Observation (OCCCO), Japan (MOE and JMA)/NIES, Japan

In the plenary session, there were four sub sessions and presentations about important themes for all parallel sessions. We exchanged information about the current status and problems of carbon cycle observation and discussed future international collaborations for such observations. The following reports were presented in the sub session for oceanic carbon cycle observations in the Pacific, Indian and Southern oceans. The Southern Ocean is important for ocean CO2 uptake as 32% of anthropogenic CO2 uptake takes place at latitudes of 44 degrees south or more, and that ocean is the largest factor of uncertainty in carbon dioxide uptake models. The increase in the rate of pCO2 (partial pressure of CO2 in seawater) has been changing over a decadal timescale in the western equatorial Pacific warm pool. The activities regarding an integrated database giving a vertical profile of CO2 in the Pacific Ocean provided by the CC-S (Section on Carbon and Climate) of the PICES (Pacific International Council for the Exploration of a Sea) were reported. To estimate the CO2 uptake and obtain feedback it is necessary to have data on seasonal through decadal variability and physical-biological interactions. At the sub session, emphasis was placed on studying the carbonate chemistry of shelf waters, clarifying the factors for suppressing the ocean carbon cycle, and validating the model's projections with observed data.

The following reports were presented on the observations of atmospheric greenhouse gases (GHGs) conducted by Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) and research projects. The activities for monitoring GHGs using mobile and fixed platforms were introduced. The rate of increase in CO2 emissions rose by 6% during the past 35 years at Cape Grim in Australia. The concentration of CO2 observed by aircraft was lower in the summer than in the winter at all altitudes (7 km, 3 km and 1 km) over Surgut in Siberia. The functions of the World Data Center for Greenhouse Gasses (WDCGG), a body within the World Meteorological Organization (WMO)/GAW program, were presented. There are many areas in the world where observations of GHGs have not been made, such as Africa, Siberia, South America and the Southern Ocean, and there are also gaps in observations in terms of time. Therefore, the WDCGG applied a mathematical method to fill these gaps when calculating global statistics for the concentration of GHGs. The WDCGG has been issuing a WMO GHGs Bulletin every year and supporting the activities of the UNFCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate). Some future tasks that have been pointed out include recovering unused data, interpolating the gaps in data and replacing instruments.

From the atmospheric and oceanic observations on GHGs made by volunteer observation ships (VOS), the following report was given. The seasonality of CO, CH4 and isotopic ratio of 13C in CH4 (delta 13C) was found by south-north shipboard observations from a VOS. It was also found that there was a large inter-annual variability for CO, CH4 and delta 13C in latitudes north of 10 degrees south in the Pacific Ocean. The concentration of CO2 is increasing in both Northern and Southern hemispheres, but the magnitude of seasonal variation and CO2 concentration were larger in the Northern Hemisphere. The increasing rate of pCO2 is larger in the atmosphere than in the sea in the western North Pacific Ocean. The opposite is true in the eastern North Pacific Ocean. Future tasks that have been pointed out include studying emissions of GHGs by livestock and estimating global levels of CH4 considering the effect of chlorine radicals.

The report from terrestrial carbon cycle observations is as follows. A project for developing a method for scaling carbon budget processes from plot to landscape called "Satellite Ecology" was introduced. Gifu University is heading this project and creating integrated and practical science for biological processes, analyzing remote sensing data, conducting climate modeling and making observations. The activities of the AsiaFLUX, a regional research network for studying the exchanges of carbon dioxide, water and energy between the land and the atmosphere in daily and inter-annual timescales, was introduced. That network holds workshops and training courses for information exchange and to build capacity. The CarboEastAsia project, which involves multiple and integrated analyses on the terrestrial biosphere in East Asia by creating a database, and developing a model for predicting the response for large-scale environmental variation was introduced.

At first in the general discussion, the domestic workshop held last year by OCCCO to enhance the interdisciplinary collaboration of terrestrial carbon cycle observation was introduced. The target area of OCCCO was shown to be one component of climate change of GEOSS in Japan. This is atmospheric, oceanic and terrestrial carbon cycle observation as well as climate change impact observation. There are requests to enhance regional collaboration and take user needs into consideration. An example for creating an alliance between flux observation and atmospheric observation in Europe has been introduced. We have high expectations for further collaboration such as holding workshops again.

Summary report by the Chair of each parallel session

Parallel session for Oceanic CO2 Observations in the Indian-Southern Ocean
Dr. Masao Ishii, Meteorological Research Institute, JMA, Japan

This session introduced the latest achievements, future plans and new instruments for observing CO2 distribution in the Indian and Southern oceans at the surface and water columns. There were large observational gaps in the Southern and Indian oceans. We have insufficient understanding about seasonal and inter-annual variations of ocean CO2 distribution. Some time series observations were conducted south of Tasmania in the Southern Ocean in collaboration between Australia and France. South Korea carried out ocean pCO2 observations near the Antarctic Peninsula and trace gas observations in the Atlantic Ocean with a group from Germany. They are chartering a new ice breaker and showed their plans for making observations with this ship. The Blue Earth Global Expedition 2003 (BEAGLE 2003) went on a round ocean voyage in the Southern Hemisphere and found a relatively larger increase of anthropogenic CO2 accumulation in the South Pacific than in the South Atlantic and South Indian Ocean. The CARBOOCEAN project lead by the European Union is integrating ocean CO2 data. In FY2008, ocean observations in the Indian and Southern oceans will be carried out as one of the activities in the GEOTRACES program. On the other hand, it has been pointed out that there were less frequent observations in these oceans and we have insufficient knowledge about seasonal and inter-annual changes.

Parallel session for Atmospheric Observations by WMO/GAW Activities and Research Projects
Dr. Hidekazu Matsueda, Meteorological Research Institute, JMA, Japan

This session presented the current status and tasks for terrestrial carbon cycle observation in Asia. In Asia, there are more than 68 sites for observing the terrestrial carbon cycle as the framework of AsiaFLUX. The AsiaFLUX project has been developing a comparison system for standardizing observation technology, operating the AsiaFLUX database since 2007, and holding training courses for building capacities in observations and data analysis. JapanFlux has started comparison of NEP (Net Ecosystem Production) and GPP (Gross Primary Production) as such studies have become possible by the standardization of observation technology for all sites of JapanFLUX. They have also started cooperative observations of terrestrial carbon budgets between micro-meteorological observations and biological surveys by JaLTER (Japan Long-Term Ecological Research Network). A new international collaborative project called "Quantifying and predicting terrestrial carbon sinks in East Asia: toward a network of climate change research" in the Japan-China-Korea Foresight Program was introduced.

Group Meeting for volunteer observation ship (VOS) data analysis
Dr. Yukihiro Nojiri, NIES, Japan

Data analysis on atmospheric and oceanic carbon cycle observations by VOS was discussed among the contributing organizations in Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Observations using VOS are very useful for sustainable and wide-ranging observations at low cost in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres. The seasonal variation and spatial distribution of atmospheric CO2, CO, CH4, N2O and O3, the concentration and isotopic ratio for carbon, and O2/N2 ratio as well as pCO2 in the ocean were revealed by VOS data analysis.

Group photo at the plenary session

Website of Asia-Pacific Workshop on Carbon Cycle Observations:


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