This paper demonstrates the role of meteorology and air transport in influencing the South African atmospheric CO2
data from December 2004 to December 2009 acquired by the Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer (TES) instrument onboard the Aura satellite were used to establish the CO2
vertical distribution at selected regions in South Africa. The Hybrid Single-Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectories (HYSPLIT) atmospheric model backward trajectories were used to determine the long-range air transport impacting on South African CO2
atmospheric distribution and to detect the source areas of air masses impacting on South Africa’s atmosphere. The study found that long-range air transport can result in the accumulation or dilution of atmospheric CO2
at various sites in South Africa, depending on the source region and type of air flow. The long-range air transport from different source regions at the upper air level between the 700 and 500 hPa stable layers and the layer above 500 hPa strengthens the inhomogeneity in the vertical distribution of CO2
, which is caused by the decoupling effect of the upper air stable layers. This long-range air transport also involves intercontinental air transport.
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