08 Jan 2021

08 Jan 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Quantification of CH4 coal mining emissions in Upper Silesia by passive airborne remote sensing observations with the MAMAP instrument during CoMet

Sven Krautwurst1, Konstantin Gerilowski1, Jakob Borchardt1, Norman Wildmann2, Michal Galkowski3,6, Justyna Swolkien4, Julia Marshall3, Alina Fiehn2, Anke Roiger2, Thomas Ruhtz5, Christoph Gerbig3, Jaroslaw Necki6, John P. Burrows1, Andreas Fix2, and Heinrich Bovensmann1 Sven Krautwurst et al.
  • 1Institute of Environmental Physics (IUP), University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany
  • 2Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre, Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany
  • 3Department Biogeochemical Signals, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Jena, Germany
  • 4Faculty of Mining and Geoengineering, AGH University of Science and Technology, Krakow, Poland
  • 5Institute for Space Sciences, Free University of Berlin, Berlin, Germany
  • 6Faculty of Physics and Applied Computer Science, AGH University of Science and Technology, Krakow, Poland

Abstract. Methane (CH4) is the second most important anthropogenic greenhouse gas, whose atmospheric concentration is modulated by human-induced activities, and it has a larger global warming potential than carbon dioxide (CO2). Because of its short atmospheric lifetime relative to that of CO2, the reduction of the atmospheric abundance of CH4 is an attractive target for short term climate mitigation strategies. However, reducing the atmospheric CH4 concentration requires a reduction of its emissions and, therefore, knowledge of its sources is essential.

For this reason, the CO2 and Methane (CoMet) campaign in early summer of 2018 was initiated with the primary goal of assessing emissions of one of the largest CH4 emission hot spots in Europe, the Upper Silesian Coal Basin (USCB) in southern Poland, using top-down approaches and inventory data. In this campaign, a variety of instruments (both in situ and remote sensing) and platforms (e.g., ground-based and airborne) were deployed, which were supplemented by modeling activities supporting the flight planning and the interpretation of the observations. Consequently, CH4 emissions originating from ~54 coal mine ventilation shafts distributed over an area of around 60 × 40 km2 could be investigated on different scales, ranging from single shafts over smaller clusters up to the entire basin.

In this study, we will focus on CH4 column anomalies retrieved from spectral radiance observations, which were acquired by the 1D nadir-looking passive remote sensing Methane Airborne MAPper (MAMAP) instrument, using the Weighting Function Modified Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy (WFM-DOAS) method. The column anomalies are combined with wind lidar measurements and inverted to cross-sectional fluxes for different flight tracks making use of a mass balance approach. These fluxes are subsequently used to assess the reported emissions of small clusters of ventilation shafts.

The MAMAP CH4 column observations allow for accurate assignment of observed fluxes to small clusters of ventilation shafts. CH4 fluxes are estimated for 4 clusters comprising 23 ventilation shafts in total, which are responsible for about 40 % of the total CH4 emissions from mining in the target area. The observations used were made during multiple overflights on different days between 28 May and 7 June 2018. The final averaged CH4 fluxes for the single clusters (or sub-clusters) range from about 1 to 9 t CH4 hr−1 at the time of the campaign. The range of fluxes observed at one cluster during different overflights can vary by as much as 50 % of the respective averaged value. Associated errors (1-σ) are usually between 15 % and 59 % of the averaged flux, mainly depending on the prevailing wind conditions, the number of flight tracks, and the magnitude of the flux itself. Comparison to known hourly emissions, where available, shows good agreement with the computed fluxes within the uncertainties. In the case that only annually reported emissions are available for comparison with the observations, caution is required due to potential fluctuations of the emissions during one year or even within hours. To measure emissions even more precisely and to further unravel them for allocation to individual shafts in a complex source region as encountered in the USCB, imaging remote sensing instruments are recommended.

Sven Krautwurst et al.

Status: open (extended)

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Sven Krautwurst et al.

Sven Krautwurst et al.


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Short summary
The study reports on observations from the passive airborne remote sensing instrument MAMAP, from which atmospheric CH4 column anomalies are retrieved to investigate CH4 emissions from coal mine shafts in Poland. Emissions from small groups of shafts have successfully been computed from the anomalies and compared to inventory data. The comparison revealed that caution is required if inventory data is only available on an annual basis and that an exact source assignment requires 2D instruments.