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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
06 Oct 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).
Study of the main processes driving atmospheric CH4 variability in a rural Spanish region
Claudia Grossi1,a, Felix R. Vogel2, Roger Curcoll1,b, Alba Àgueda1,c, Arturo Vargas3, Xavier Rodó1,4,d, and Josep-Anton Morguí1,5,b 1Institut Català de Ciències del Clima (IC3), Barcelona, Spain
2Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et l'Environnement (LSCE-IP SL), CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, Université Paris-Saclay, Gif-sur-Yvette, France
3Institut de Tècniques Energètiques (INTE), Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), Barcelona, Spain
4Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats (ICREA), Barcelona, Spain
5Departament Biologia Evolutiva, Ecologia i Ciències Ambientals, Universitat de Barcelona (UB), Barcelona, Spain
apresent address: Institut de Tècniques Energètiques (INTE), Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), Barcelona, Spain
bpresent address: Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals (ICTA), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), Cerdanyola del Vallès, Spain
cpresent address: Centre d'Estudis del Risc Tecnològic, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) – BarcelonaTech, Barcelona, Spain
dpresent address: CLIMA2, Climate and Health Program, ISGlobal (Barcelona Institute of Global Health), Barcelona, Spain
Abstract. Atmospheric concentrations of the two main greenhouse gases (GHGs), carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4), are continuously measured since November 2012 at the Spanish rural station of Gredos (GIC3), within the climate network ClimaDat, together with atmospheric radon (222Rn) tracer and meteorological parameters. The atmospheric variability of CH4 concentrations measured from 2013 to 2015 at GIC3 has been analyzed in this study. It is interpreted in relation to the variability of measured 222Rn concentrations, modelled 222Rn fluxes and modelled heights of the planetary boundary layer (PBLH) in the same period. In addition, nocturnal fluxes of CH4 were estimated using two methods: the Radon Tracer Method (RTM) and one based on the EDGARv4.2 bottom-up emission inventory. Both previous methods have been applied using the same footprints, calculated with the atmospheric transport model FLEXPARTv6.2.

Results show that daily and seasonal changes in atmospheric concentrations of 222Rn (and the corresponding fluxes) can help to understand the atmospheric CH4 variability. On daily basis, the variation in the PBLH mainly drives changes in 222Rn and CH4 concentrations while, on monthly basis, their atmospheric variability seems to depend on changes in their emissions. The median value of RTM based methane fluxes (FR_CH4) is 0.17 mg CH4 m−2 h−1 with an absolute deviation of 0.08 mg CH4 m−2 h−1. Median methane fluxes based on bottom-up inventory (FE_CH4) is of 0.32 mg CH4 m−2 h−1 with an absolute deviation of 0.06 mg CH4 m−2 h−1. Monthly FR_CH4 flux shows a seasonality which is not observed in the monthly FE_CH4 flux. During January–May FR_CH4 fluxes present a median value of 0.08 mg CH4 m−2 h−1 with an absolute deviation of 0.05 mg CH4 m−2 h−1 and a median value of 0.19 mg CH4 m−2 h−1 with an absolute deviation of 0.06 mg CH4 m−2 h−1 during June–December. This seasonal doubling of the median methane fluxes calculated by RTM at the GIC3 area seems to be mainly related to the alternate presence of transhumant livestock in the GIC3 area. The results obtained in this study highlight the benefit of applying independent RTM to improve the seasonality of the emission factors from bottom-up inventories.

Citation: Grossi, C., Vogel, F. R., Curcoll, R., Àgueda, A., Vargas, A., Rodó, X., and Morguí, J.-A.: Study of the main processes driving atmospheric CH4 variability in a rural Spanish region, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss.,, in review, 2017.
Claudia Grossi et al.
Claudia Grossi et al.
Claudia Grossi et al.


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