Articles | Volume 22, issue 3
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 22, 2121–2133, 2022
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-22-2121-2022
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 22, 2121–2133, 2022
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-22-2121-2022
Research article
15 Feb 2022
Research article | 15 Feb 2022

Using carbon-14 and carbon-13 measurements for source attribution of atmospheric methane in the Athabasca oil sands region

Regina Gonzalez Moguel et al.

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Cited articles

Ahad, J. M. E. and Pakdel, H.: Direct evaluation of in situ biodegradation in Athabasca oil sands tailings ponds using natural abundance radiocarbon, Environ. Sci. Technol., 47, 10214–10222, https://doi.org/10.1021/es402302z, 2013. 
Alberta Energy Regulator: ST98-2015: Alberta's Energy Reserves 2014 and Supply/Demand, Alberta Energy Regulator, available at: https://static.aer.ca/prd/documents/sts/ST98/ST98-2015.pdf (last access: 19 January 2022), 2015. 
Baray, S., Darlington, A., Gordon, M., Hayden, K. L., Leithead, A., Li, S.-M., Liu, P. S. K., Mittermeier, R. L., Moussa, S. G., O'Brien, J., Staebler, R., Wolde, M., Worthy, D., and McLaren, R.: Quantification of methane sources in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region of Alberta by aircraft mass balance, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 7361–7378, https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-18-7361-2018, 2018. 
Baray, S., Jacob, D. J., Maasakkers, J. D., Sheng, J.-X., Sulprizio, M. P., Jones, D. B. A., Bloom, A. A., and McLaren, R.: Estimating 2010–2015 anthropogenic and natural methane emissions in Canada using ECCC surface and GOSAT satellite observations, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 21, 18101–18121, https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-21-18101-2021, 2021. 
Bari, M. and Kindzierski, W. B.: Fifteen-year trends in criteria air pollutants in oil sands communities of Alberta, Canada, Environ. Int., 74, 200–208, https://doi.org/10.1016/J.ENVINT.2014.10.009, 2015. 
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Evaluating methane (CH4) sources in the Athabasca oil sands region (AOSR) is crucial to effectively mitigate CH4 emissions. We tested the use of carbon isotopes to estimate source contributions from key CH4 sources in the AOSR and found that 56 ± 18 % of CH4 emissions originated from surface mining and processing facilities, 34 ± 18 % from tailings ponds, and 10 ± < 1 % from wetlands, confirming previous findings and showing that this method can be successfully used to partition CH4 sources.
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