Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-671
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-671

  19 Aug 2021

19 Aug 2021

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

Methane emissions in the United States, Canada, and Mexico: Evaluation of national methane emission inventories and sectoral trends by inverse analysis of in situ (GLOBALVIEWplus CH4 ObsPack) and satellite (GOSAT) atmospheric observations

Xiao Lu1,2, Daniel J. Jacob2, Haolin Wang1, Joannes D. Maasakkers3, Yuzhong Zhang2,4,5, Tia R. Scarpelli2, Lu Shen2, Zhen Qu2, Melissa P. Sulprizio2, Hannah Nesser2, A. Anthony Bloom6, Shuang Ma6, John R. Worden6, Shaojia Fan1, Robert J. Parker7,8, Hartmut Boesch7,8, Ritesh Gautam9, Deborah Gordon10,11, Michael D. Moran12, Frances Reuland13, and Claudia A. Octaviano Villasana14 Xiao Lu et al.
  • 1School of Atmospheric Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Zhuhai, Guangdong Province, China
  • 2Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA
  • 3SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research, Utrecht, the Netherlands
  • 4School of Engineering, Westlake University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China
  • 5Institute of Advanced Technology, Westlake Institute for Advanced Study, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China
  • 6Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA
  • 7National Centre for Earth Observation, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK
  • 8Earth Observation Science, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK
  • 9Environmental Defense Fund, Washington, DC, USA
  • 10RMI, New Yor k, NY, USA
  • 11Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA
  • 12Environment and Climate Change Canada, Toronto, ON, Canada
  • 13RMI, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 14Instituto Nacional de Ecología y Cambio Climático (INECC), Mexico City, Mexico

Abstract. We quantify methane emissions and their 2010–2017 trends by sector in the contiguous United States (CONUS), Canada, and Mexico by inverse analysis of in situ (GLOBALVIEWplus CH4 ObsPack) and satellite (GOSAT) atmospheric methane observations. The inversion uses as prior estimate the national anthropogenic emission inventories for the three countries reported by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), and the Instituto Nacional de Ecologia y Cambio Climatico (INECC) in Mexico to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and thus serves as an evaluation of these inventories in terms of their magnitudes and trends. Emissions are optimized with a Gaussian mixture model (GMM) at 0.5° × 0.625° resolution and for individual years. Optimization is done analytically using log-normal error forms. This yields closed-form statistics of error estimates and information content on the posterior (optimized) estimates, allows better representation of the high tail of the emission distribution, and enables construction of a large ensemble of inverse solutions using different observations and assumptions. We find that GOSAT and in situ observations are largely consistent and complementary in the optimization of methane emissions for North America. Mean 2010–2017 anthropogenic emissions from our base GOSAT + in situ inversion, with ranges from the inversion ensemble, are 36.9 (32.5–37.8) Tg a−1 for CONUS, 5.3 (3.6–5.7) Tg a−1 for Canada, and 6.0 (4.7–6.1) Tg a−1 for Mexico. These are higher than the most recent reported national inventories of 26.0 Tg a−1 for the US (EPA), 4.0 Tg a−1 for Canada (ECCC), and 5.0 Tg a−1 for Mexico (INECC). The correction in all three countries is largely driven by a factor of 2 underestimate in emissions from the oil sector with major contributions from the south-central US, western Canada, and southeast Mexico. Total CONUS anthropogenic emissions in our inversion peak in 2014, in contrast to the EPA report of a steady decreasing trend over 2010–2017. This reflects combined effects of increases in emissions from the oil and landfill sectors, decrease from the gas, and flat emissions from the livestock and coal sectors. We find decreasing trends in Canadian and Mexican anthropogenic methane emissions over the 2010–2017 period, mainly driven by oil and gas emissions. Our best estimates of mean 2010–2017 wetland emissions are 8.4 (6.4–10.6) Tg a−1 for CONUS, 9.9 (7.8–12.0) Tg a−1 for Canada, and 0.6 (0.4–0.6) Tg a−1 for Mexico. Wetland emissions in CONUS show an increasing trend of 2.6 (1.7–3.8) % a−1 over 2010–2017 correlated with precipitation.

Xiao Lu et al.

Status: open (until 20 Oct 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on acp-2021-671', Lena Höglund-Isaksson, 20 Sep 2021 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on acp-2021-671', Anonymous Referee #2, 21 Sep 2021 reply

Xiao Lu et al.

Xiao Lu et al.

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Short summary
We evaluate methane emissions and trends for 2010–2017 in the gridded national emission inventories for the United States, Canada, and Mexico by inversion of in situ and satellite methane observations. We find that anthropogenic methane emissions for all three countries are underestimated in the national inventories, largely driven by oil emissions. Anthropogenic methane emissions in the US peaks in 2014, in contrast to the report of steady decreasing trend over 2010–2017 from US EPA.
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