Articles | Volume 21, issue 23
Research article
07 Dec 2021
Research article |  | 07 Dec 2021

Limitations of the radon tracer method (RTM) to estimate regional greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – a case study for methane in Heidelberg

Ingeborg Levin, Ute Karstens, Samuel Hammer, Julian DellaColetta, Fabian Maier, and Maksym Gachkivskyi

Related authors

Effects of point source emission heights in WRF–STILT: a step towards exploiting nocturnal observations in models
Fabian Maier, Christoph Gerbig, Ingeborg Levin, Ingrid Super, Julia Marshall, and Samuel Hammer
Geosci. Model Dev., 15, 5391–5406,,, 2022
Short summary
A dedicated flask sampling strategy developed for Integrated Carbon Observation System (ICOS) stations based on CO2 and CO measurements and Stochastic Time-Inverted Lagrangian Transport (STILT) footprint modelling
Ingeborg Levin, Ute Karstens, Markus Eritt, Fabian Maier, Sabrina Arnold, Daniel Rzesanke, Samuel Hammer, Michel Ramonet, Gabriela Vítková, Sebastien Conil, Michal Heliasz, Dagmar Kubistin, and Matthias Lindauer
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 20, 11161–11180,,, 2020
Short summary
Intercomparison study of atmospheric 222Rn and 222Rn progeny monitors
Claudia Grossi, Scott D. Chambers, Olivier Llido, Felix R. Vogel, Victor Kazan, Alessandro Capuana, Sylvester Werczynski, Roger Curcoll, Marc Delmotte, Arturo Vargas, Josep-Anton Morguí, Ingeborg Levin, and Michel Ramonet
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 13, 2241–2255,,, 2020
Short summary
The influence of 14CO2 releases from regional nuclear facilities at the Heidelberg 14CO2 sampling site (1986–2014)
Matthias Kuderer, Samuel Hammer, and Ingeborg Levin
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 7951–7959,,, 2018
Short summary
Interlaboratory comparison of δ13C and δD measurements of atmospheric CH4 for combined use of data sets from different laboratories
Taku Umezawa, Carl A. M. Brenninkmeijer, Thomas Röckmann, Carina van der Veen, Stanley C. Tyler, Ryo Fujita, Shinji Morimoto, Shuji Aoki, Todd Sowers, Jochen Schmitt, Michael Bock, Jonas Beck, Hubertus Fischer, Sylvia E. Michel, Bruce H. Vaughn, John B. Miller, James W. C. White, Gordon Brailsford, Hinrich Schaefer, Peter Sperlich, Willi A. Brand, Michael Rothe, Thomas Blunier, David Lowry, Rebecca E. Fisher, Euan G. Nisbet, Andrew L. Rice, Peter Bergamaschi, Cordelia Veidt, and Ingeborg Levin
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 11, 1207–1231,,, 2018
Short summary

Related subject area

Subject: Gases | Research Activity: Field Measurements | Altitude Range: Troposphere | Science Focus: Physics (physical properties and processes)
Disentangling methane and carbon dioxide sources and transport across the Russian Arctic from aircraft measurements
Clément Narbaud, Jean-Daniel Paris, Sophie Wittig, Antoine Berchet, Marielle Saunois, Philippe Nédélec, Boris D. Belan, Mikhail Y. Arshinov, Sergei B. Belan, Denis Davydov, Alexander Fofonov, and Artem Kozlov
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 23, 2293–2314,,, 2023
Short summary
Airborne glyoxal measurements in the marine and continental atmosphere: comparison with TROPOMI observations and EMAC simulations
Flora Kluge, Tilman Hüneke, Christophe Lerot, Simon Rosanka, Meike K. Rotermund, Domenico Taraborrelli, Benjamin Weyland, and Klaus Pfeilsticker
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 23, 1369–1401,,, 2023
Short summary
Mercury in the free troposphere and bidirectional atmosphere–vegetation exchanges – insights from Maïdo mountain observatory in the Southern Hemisphere tropics
Alkuin M. Koenig, Olivier Magand, Bert Verreyken, Jerome Brioude, Crist Amelynck, Niels Schoon, Aurélie Colomb, Beatriz Ferreira Araujo, Michel Ramonet, Mahesh K. Sha, Jean-Pierre Cammas, Jeroen E. Sonke, and Aurélien Dommergue
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 23, 1309–1328,,, 2023
Short summary
Diurnal variability of atmospheric O2, CO2, and their exchange ratio above a boreal forest in southern Finland
Kim A. P. Faassen, Linh N. T. Nguyen, Eadin R. Broekema, Bert A. M. Kers, Ivan Mammarella, Timo Vesala, Penelope A. Pickers, Andrew C. Manning, Jordi Vilà-Guerau de Arellano, Harro A. J. Meijer, Wouter Peters, and Ingrid T. Luijkx
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 23, 851–876,,, 2023
Short summary
How adequately are elevated moist layers represented in reanalysis and satellite observations?
Marc Prange, Stefan A. Buehler, and Manfred Brath
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 23, 725–741,,, 2023
Short summary

Cited articles

Bergamaschi, P., Frankenberg, C., Meirink, J. F., Krol, M., Villani, M. G., Houweling, S., Dentener, F., Dlugokencky, E. J., Miller, J. B., Gatti, L. V., Engel, A., and Levin, I.: Inverse modeling of global and regional CH4 emissions using SCIAMACHY satellite retrievals, J. Geophys. Res., 114, D22301,, 2009. 
Biraud, S., Ciais, P., Ramonet, M., Simmonds, P., Kazan, V. Monfray, P., O'Doherty, S. Spain, T. G., and Jennings, S. G.: European greenhouse gas emissions estimated from continuous atmospheric measurements and radon 222 at Mace Head, Ireland, J. Geophys. Res., 105, 1351–1366,, 2000. 
Blake, D. and Rowland, F. S.: Continuing worldwide increase in tropospheric methane, Science, 239, 1129–1131,, 1988. 
Brown, C. W. and Keeling, C. D.: The concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide in Antarctica, J. Geophys. Res., 70, 6077–6085,, 1965. 
Short summary
The radon tracer method is applied to atmospheric methane and radon observations from the upper Rhine valley to independently estimate methane emissions from the region. Comparison of our top-down results with bottom-up inventory data requires high-resolution footprint modelling and representative radon flux data. In agreement with inventories, observed emissions decreased, but only until 2005. A limitation of this method is that point-source emissions are not captured or not fully captured.
Final-revised paper