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

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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