Journal cover Journal topic
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 7, 629-634, 2007
© Author(s) 2007. This work is licensed under
the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.
09 Feb 2007
Technical Note: Long-term memory effect in the atmospheric CO2 concentration at Mauna Loa
C. Varotsos, M.-N. Assimakopoulos, and M. Efstathiou Department of Applied Physics, University of Athens, Athens, Greece
Abstract. The monthly mean values of the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration derived from in-situ air samples collected at Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii, USA during 1958–2004 (the longest continuous record available in the world) are analyzed by employing the detrended fluctuation analysis to detect scaling behavior in this time series. The main result is that the fluctuations of carbon dioxide concentrations exhibit long-range power-law correlations (long memory) with lag times ranging from four months to eleven years, which correspond to 1/f noise. This result indicates that random perturbations in the carbon dioxide concentrations give rise to noise, characterized by a frequency spectrum following a power-law with exponent that approaches to one; the latter shows that the correlation times grow strongly. This feature is pointing out that a correctly rescaled subset of the original time series of the carbon dioxide concentrations resembles the original time series. Finally, the power-law relationship derived from the real measurements of the carbon dioxide concentrations could also serve as a tool to improve the confidence of the atmospheric chemistry-transport and global climate models.

Citation: Varotsos, C., Assimakopoulos, M.-N., and Efstathiou, M.: Technical Note: Long-term memory effect in the atmospheric CO2 concentration at Mauna Loa, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 7, 629-634,, 2007.
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