Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-1135
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-1135

  02 Dec 2020

02 Dec 2020

Review status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Spectrometric measurements of atmospheric propane (C3H8)

Geoffrey C. Toon1, Jean-Francois L. Blavier1, Keeyoon Sung1, and Katelyn Yu1,2 Geoffrey C. Toon et al.
  • 1Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, 91109, USA
  • 2Dept. Civil and Environmental Engineering, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, 94720, USA

Abstract. We report measurements of atmospheric C3H8 from analysis of ground-based, solar absorption spectra from the JPL MkIV interferometer. Using the strong Q-branch absorption feature at 2967 cm−1, we can measure C3H8 in locations where its abundance is enhanced by proximity to sources (e.g., large natural gas fields, mega-cities). A case study of MkIV C3H8 measurements from Ft. Sumner, New Mexico, show large variations that are strongly correlated with ethane (C2H6) amounts and with back-trajectories from SE New Mexico and West Texas, where the Permian Basin oil and natural gas field is located. Measurements from JPL, California, also show large C3H8 enhancements on certain days, but more correlated with CO than C2H6. From MKIV solar occultation measurements from balloon, C3H8 was not detected at any altitude in any flight.

Geoffrey C. Toon et al.

 
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Geoffrey C. Toon et al.

Geoffrey C. Toon et al.

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Short summary
We report measurements of atmospheric propane (C3H8) from analysis of ground-based, infra-red solar absorption spectra measured from various sites. These measurements suggest that exploitation of natural gas fields is a major and growing source of propane in the USA. Also, there seem to be propane sources in large cities such as Los Angeles, possibly related to use of liquified petroleum gas (LPG).
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