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Discussion papers | Copyright
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

Research article | 04 Jan 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of this manuscript was accepted for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP) and is expected to appear here in due course.

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 Jian-Xiong Sheng et al.
  • 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.

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Jian-Xiong Sheng et al.
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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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