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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2017-1110
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
04 Jan 2018
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).
2010–2015 methane trends over Canada, the United States, and Mexico observed by the GOSAT satellite: contributions from different source sectors
Jian-Xiong Sheng1,2, Daniel J. Jacob1, Alexander J. Turner1, Joannes D. Maasakkers1, Joshua Benmergui1, Anthony A. Bloom3, Claudia Arndt2, Ritesh Gautam2, Daniel Zavala-Araiza2, Hartmut Boesch4,5, and Robert J. Parker4,5 1School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA
2Environmental Defense Fund, Austin, TX, USA
3Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA
4Leicester Institute for Space and Earth Observation, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK
5NERC National Center for Earth Observation, UK
Abstract. We use six years (2010–2015) of methane column observations from the Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite (GOSAT) to examine trends in atmospheric methane concentrations over North America and infer trends in emissions. Local methane enhancements above background are diagnosed in the GOSAT data on a 0.5° × 0.5° grid by estimating the local background as the low (10th–25th) percentiles of the deseasonalized frequency distributions of the data for individual years. Trends in methane enhancements on the 0.5° × 0.5° grid are then aggregated nationally and for individual source sectors, using information from state-of-science bottom-up inventories, to increase statistical power. Our results suggest that US methane emissions increased by 2.1 ± 1.4 % a−1 (mean ± one standard deviation) over the six-year period, with contributions from both oil/gas systems (possibly unconventional oil/gas production) and from livestock in the Midwest (possibly swine manure management). Mexican emissions show a decrease that can be attributed to a decreasing cattle population. Canadian emissions show interannual variability driven by wetlands emissions and correlated with wetland areal extent. The US emission trends inferred from the GOSAT data account for about 20 % of the observed increase in global methane over the 2010–2014 period but may be too small to be detectable with surface observations from the North American Carbon Program (NACP) network.

Citation: Sheng, J.-X., Jacob, D. J., Turner, A. J., Maasakkers, J. D., Benmergui, J., Bloom, A. A., Arndt, C., Gautam, R., Zavala-Araiza, D., Boesch, H., and Parker, R. J.: 2010–2015 methane trends over Canada, the United States, and Mexico observed by the GOSAT satellite: contributions from different source sectors, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2017-1110, in review, 2018.
Jian-Xiong Sheng et al.
Jian-Xiong Sheng et al.
Jian-Xiong Sheng et al.

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Short summary
Analysis of six years (2010–2015) of GOSAT methane trends over Canada, the contiguous US, and Mexico suggests that US methane emissions increased by 2.1 ± 1.4 % a−1 over the six-year period, with contributions from both oil/gas systems and from livestock in the Midwest. Mexican emissions show a decrease that can be attributed to a decreasing cattle population. Canadian emissions show interannual variability driven by wetland emissions.
Analysis of six years (2010–2015) of GOSAT methane trends over Canada, the contiguous US, and...
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