Members’ Publications

Six years of atmospheric CO2 observations at Mt. Fuji recorded with a battery-powered measurement system

Nomura S., Mukai H., Terao Y., Machida T, Nojiri Y.
Atmos. Meas. Tech. 10, 667-680

We developed a battery-powered carbon dioxide (CO2) measurement system for monitoring at the summit of Mt. Fuji (3776 m a.s.l.), which experiences very low temperatures (below −20°C) and severe environmental conditions without access to gridded electricity for 10 months (from September to June). Our measurement system used 100 batteries to run the measurement unit during these months. These batteries were charged during the 2-month summer season when gridded electricity was available, using a specially designed automatic battery-charging system. We installed this system in summer 2009 at the Mt. Fuji weather station; observations of atmospheric CO2 concentration were taken through December 2015. Measurements were never interrupted by a lack of battery power except for two cases in which lightning damaged a control board. Thus we obtained CO2 data during about 94% of the 6-year period. Analytical performances (stability and accuracy) were better than 0.1 ppm, as tested by checking working standards and comparisons with flask sampling.

Observational results showed that CO2 mole fractions at Mt. Fuji demonstrated clear seasonal variation. The trend and the variability of the CO2 growth rate observed at Mt. Fuji were very similar to those of the Mauna Loa Observatory (MLO). Seasonally, the concentration at Mt. Fuji was 2–10 ppm lower in summer and 2–12 ppm higher in winter than those at MLO. The lower concentrations at Mt. Fuji in summer are mainly attributed to episodes of air mass transport from Siberia or China, where CO2 is taken up by the terrestrial biosphere. On the other hand, the relatively higher concentrations in winter seem to reflect the high percentage of air masses originating from China or Southeast Asia during this period, which carry increased anthropogenic carbon dioxide. These results show that Mt. Fuji is not very influenced by local sources but rather by the sources and sinks over a very large region.

Thus we conclude that, as this system could provide stable measurement data with relatively easy operation for 6 years at Mt. Fuji, it could be a useful monitoring technique for remote background sites elsewhere.