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

The suitability of atmospheric oxygen measurements to constrain Western European fossil-fuel CO2 emissions and their trends
Christian Rödenbeck, Karina E. Adcock, Markus Eritt, Maksym Gachkivsky, Christoph Gerbig, Samuel Hammer, Armin Jordan, Ralph F. Keeling, Ingeborg Levin, Fabian Maier, Andrew C. Manning, Heiko Moossen, Saqr Munassar, Penelope A. Pickers, Michael Rothe, Yasunori Tohjima, and Sönke Zaehle
EGUsphere,,, 2023
This preprint is open for discussion and under review for Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).
Short summary
Potential of 14C-based versus ∆CO-based ∆ffCO2 observations to estimate urban fossil fuel CO2 (ffCO2) emissions
Fabian Manuel Maier, Christian Rödenbeck, Ingeborg Levin, Christoph Gerbig, Maksym Gachkivskyi, and Samuel Hammer
EGUsphere,,, 2023
Short summary
Uncertainty of continuous ∆CO-based ∆ffCO2 estimates derived from 14C flask and bottom-up ∆CO / ∆ffCO2 ratios
Fabian Manuel Maier, Ingeborg Levin, Sébastien Conil, Maksym Gachkivskyi, Hugo Denier van der Gon, and Samuel Hammer
EGUsphere,,, 2023
This preprint is open for discussion and under review for Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).
Short summary
Results of a Long-Term International Comparison of Greenhouse Gas and Isotope Measurements at the Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) Observatory in Alert, Nunavut, Canada
Douglas E. J. Worthy, Michele K. Rauh, Lin Huang, Felix R. Vogel, Alina Chivulescu, Kenneth A. Masarie, Ray L. Langenfelds, Paul B. Krummel, Colin E. Allison, Andrew M. Crotwell, Monica Madronich, Gabrielle Pétron, Ingeborg Levin, Samuel Hammer, Sylvia Michel, Michel Ramonet, Martina Schmidt, Armin Jordan, Heiko Moossen, Michael Rothe, Ralph Keeling, and Eric J. Morgan
Atmos. Meas. Tech. Discuss.,,, 2023
Revised manuscript under review for AMT
Short summary
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

Related subject area

Subject: Gases | Research Activity: Field Measurements | Altitude Range: Troposphere | Science Focus: Physics (physical properties and processes)
Zugspitze ozone 1970–2020: the role of stratosphere–troposphere transport
Thomas Trickl, Cédric Couret, Ludwig Ries, and Hannes Vogelmann
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 23, 8403–8427,,, 2023
Short summary
High sulfur dioxide deposition velocities measured with the flux–gradient technique in a boreal forest in the Alberta Oil Sands Region
Mark Gordon, Dane Blanchard, Timothy Jiang, Paul A. Makar, Ralf M. Staebler, Julian Aherne, Cris Mihele, and Xuanyi Zhang
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 23, 7241–7255,,, 2023
Short summary
Quantification of methane emissions in Hamburg using a network of FTIR spectrometers and an inverse modeling approach
Andreas Forstmaier, Jia Chen, Florian Dietrich, Juan Bettinelli, Hossein Maazallahi, Carsten Schneider, Dominik Winkler, Xinxu Zhao, Taylor Jones, Carina van der Veen, Norman Wildmann, Moritz Makowski, Aydin Uzun, Friedrich Klappenbach, Hugo Denier van der Gon, Stefan Schwietzke, and Thomas Röckmann
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 23, 6897–6922,,, 2023
Short summary
Local-to-regional methane emissions from the Upper Silesian Coal Basin (USCB) quantified using UAV-based atmospheric measurements
Truls Andersen, Zhao Zhao, Marcel de Vries, Jaroslaw Necki, Justyna Swolkien, Malika Menoud, Thomas Röckmann, Anke Roiger, Andreas Fix, Wouter Peters, and Huilin Chen
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 23, 5191–5216,,, 2023
Short summary
Transport pathways of carbon monoxide from Indonesian fire pollution to a subtropical high-altitude mountain site in the western North Pacific
Saginela Ravindra Babu, Chang-Feng Ou-Yang, Stephen M. Griffith, Shantanu Kumar Pani, Steven Soon-Kai Kong, and Neng-Huei Lin
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 23, 4727–4740,,, 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