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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2018-948
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2018-948
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 01 Oct 2018

Research article | 01 Oct 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Country-scale greenhouse gases budgets using shipborne measurements: a case study for the United Kingdom and Ireland

Carole Helfter1, Neil Mullinger1, Massimo Vieno1, Simon O'Doherty2, Michel Ramonet3, Paul I. Palmer4, and Eiko Nemitz1 Carole Helfter et al.
  • 1Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Penicuik, UK
  • 2School of Chemi stry, University of Bristol, UK
  • 3Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, Gif-sur-Yvette, France
  • 4School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK

Abstract. We present a mass balance approach to estimate the seasonal and annual budgets of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) of the United Kingdom (excluding Scotland) and the Republic of Ireland from concentration measurements taken on a ferry along the east coast of the United Kingdom over a 3-year period (2015–2017). We estimate the annual emissions of CH4 to be 2.55±0.43Tg, which is consistent with the combined 2.29Tg reported to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change by the individual countries. The net CO2 budget (i.e. including all anthropogenic and biogenic sources and sinks of CO2) is estimated at 881.0±137.5Tg, with a net biogenic contribution of 458.7Tg (taken as the difference between the estimated net emissions and the inventory value which accounts for anthropogenic emissions only). The largest emissions for both gases were observed in a broad latitudinal band (52.5°N–54°N), which coincides with densely populated areas. The emissions of both gases were seasonal (maxima in winter and minima in summer), strongly correlated to natural gas usage and, to a lesser extent, also anti-correlated to mean air temperature. Methane emissions exhibited a statistically significant anti-correlation with air temperature at the seasonal time scale in the central region spanning 52.8°N–54°N, which hosts a relatively high density of waste treatment facilities. Methane emissions from landfills have been shown to sometimes increase with decreasing air temperature due to changes in the CH4-oxidizing potential of the top soil, and we speculate that the waste sector contributes significantly to the CH4 budget of this central region. This study brings independent verification of the emission budgets estimated using alternative products (e.g. mass balance budgets by aircraft measurements, inverse modelling, inventorying) and offers an opportunity to investigate the seasonality of these emissions which is usually not possible.

Carole Helfter et al.
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We present a novel approach to estimate the annual budgets of carbon dioxide (881.0 ± 137.5 Tg) and methane (2.55 ± 0.43 Tg) of the British Isles from shipborne measurements taken over a 3-year period (2015–2017). This study brings independent verification of the emission budgets estimated using alternative products and offers an opportunity to investigate the seasonality of these emissions which is usually not possible.
We present a novel approach to estimate the annual budgets of carbon dioxide (881.0 ± 137.5 Tg)...
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