Seasonal cycle of N2O: Analysis of data

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Global Biogeochemical Cycles, Volume 21, Issue 1, p.GB1006 (2007)





Atmosphere, Middle atmosphere: constituent transport and chemistry, multitaper method, N2O seasonal cycle, surface sources, Troposphere: constituent transport and chemistry


We carried out a systematic study of the seasonal cycle and its latitudinal variation in the nitrous oxide (N2O) data collected by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration–Global Monitoring Division (NOAA-GMD) and the Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment (AGAGE). In order to confirm the weak seasonal signal in the observations, we applied the multitaper method for the spectrum analysis and studied the stations with significant seasonal cycle. In addition, the measurement errors must be small compared with the seasonal cycle. The N2O seasonal cycles from seven stations satisfied these criteria and were analyzed in detail. The stations are Alert (82°N, 62°W), Barrow (71°N, 157°W), Mace Head (53°N, 10°W), Cape Kumukahi (19°N, 155°W), Cape Matatula (14°S, 171°W), Cape Grim (41°S, 145°E) and South Pole (90°S, 102°W). The amplitude (peak to peak) of the seasonal cycle of N2O varies from 0.29 ppb (parts-per-billion by mole fraction in dry air) at the South Pole to 1.15 ppb at Alert. The month at which the seasonal cycle is at a minimum varies monotonically from April (South Pole) to September (Alert). The seasonal cycle in the Northern Hemisphere shows the influence of the stratosphere; the seasonal cycle of N2O in the Southern Hemisphere suggests greater influence from surface sources. Preliminary estimates are obtained for the magnitude of the seasonally varying sources needed to account for the observations.