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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-977
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-977
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 13 Dec 2019

Submitted as: research article | 13 Dec 2019

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Understanding nighttime methane signals at the Amazon Tall Tower Observatory (ATTO)

Santiago Botía B.1, Christoph Gerbig1, Julia Marshall1, Jost V. Lavric1, David Walter1,2, Christopher Pöhlker2, Bruna Holanda2, Gilberto Fisch3, Alessandro Carioca de Araujo4, Marta O. Sá5, Paulo R. Teixeira5, Angélica F. Resende5, Cleo Q. Dias-Junior6, Hella van Asperen7, Pablo S. Oliveira8, Michel Stefanello8, and Otávio C. Acevedo8 Santiago Botía B. et al.
  • 1Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Hans-Knoell-Straße 10, 07745 Jena, Germany
  • 2Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, 55020 Mainz, Germany
  • 3Centro Técnico Aeroespacial, São José dos Campos, SP, Brazil
  • 4Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária (EMBRAPA), Trav. Dr. Enéas Pinheiro, Belém, PA, Brazil
  • 5Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia (INPA), Av. André Araújo 2936, Manaus, AM, Brazil
  • 6Instituto Federal de Educação, Ciência e Tecnologia do Pará, Belém, PA, Brazil
  • 7Institute of Environmental Physics, University of Bremen, Otto-Hahn-Alle 1, 28359, Bremen, Germany
  • 8Departamento de Física, Universidade Federal de Santa Maria, Av. Roraima 1000, Santa Maria, RS, Brazil

Abstract. Methane (CH4) atmospheric mixing ratio measurements are analyzed for the period between June 2013 and November 2018 at the Amazon Tall Tower Observatory (ATTO). We describe the seasonal and diurnal patterns of nighttime events in which CH4 mixing ratios at the uppermost (79 m a.g.l.) inlet are higher than the lowermost inlet (4 m a.g.l.) by 8 ppb or more. These nighttime events were found to be associated with a wind direction originating from the southeast and wind speeds between 2 and 5 m s−1. We found that these events happen under specific nighttime atmospheric conditions when compared to other nights, exhibiting less variable sensible heat flux, low net radiation and a strong thermal stratification above the canopy were found. Our analysis indicates that even at wind speeds of 5.8 m s−1 the turbulence intensity, given by the standard deviation of the vertical velocity, is suppressed to values lower than 0.3 m s−1. Given these findings, we suggest that these nighttime CH4 enhancements are advected from their source location by horizontal non-turbulent motions. The most likely source location is the Uatumã River, possibly influenced by dead stands of flooded forest trees that may be enhancing CH4 emissions from those areas. Finally, biomass burning and the Amazon River were discarded as potential CH4 sources.

Santiago Botía B. et al.

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Santiago Botía B. et al.

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Latest update: 26 Feb 2020
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Short summary
A long record of atmospheric methane concentrations in central Amazonia was analyzed. We describe events in which concentrations at 79 m are higher than at 4 m. These events are more frequent during the nighttime of dry season, but we found no association with fire signals. Instead, a combination of nighttime transport and a nearby source could explain such events. Our research gives insights into how methane is transported in the complex nocturnal atmosphere in Amazonia.
A long record of atmospheric methane concentrations in central Amazonia was analyzed. We...
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