Assessing urban methane emissions using column-observing portable Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometers and a novel Bayesian inversion framework

Taylor S. Jones, Jonathan E. Franklin, Jia Chen, Florian Dietrich, Kristian D. Hajny, Johannes C. Paetzold, Adrian Wenzel, Conor Gately, Elaine Gottlieb, Harrison Parker, Manvendra Dubey, Frank Hase, Paul B. Shepson, Levi H. Mielke, Steven C. Wofsy

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftArtikelBegutachtung

18 Zitate (Scopus)


Cities represent a large and concentrated portion of global greenhouse gas emissions, including methane. Quantifying methane emissions from urban areas is difficult, and inventories made using bottom-up accounting methods often differ greatly from top-down estimates generated from atmospheric observations. Emissions from leaks in natural gas infrastructure are difficult to predict and are therefore poorly constrained in bottom-up inventories. Natural gas infrastructure leaks and emissions from end uses can be spread throughout the city, and this diffuse source can represent a significant fraction of a city's total emissions. We investigated diffuse methane emissions of the city of Indianapolis, USA, during a field campaign in May 2016. A network of five portable solar-tracking Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometers was deployed throughout the city. These instruments measure the mole fraction of methane in a total column of air, giving them sensitivity to larger areas of the city than in situ sensors at the surface. We present an innovative inversion method to link these total column concentrations to surface fluxes. This method combines a Lagrangian transport model with a Bayesian inversion framework to estimate surface emissions and their uncertainties, together with determining the concentrations of methane in the air flowing into the city. Variations exceeding 10ĝ€¯ppb were observed in the inflowing air on a typical day, which is somewhat larger than the enhancements due to urban emissions (<5ĝ€¯ppb downwind of the city). We found diffuse methane emissions of 73(±22)ĝ€¯mols-1, which is about 50ĝ€¯% of the urban total and 68ĝ€¯% higher than estimated from bottom-up methods, although it is somewhat smaller than estimates from studies using tower and aircraft observations. The measurement and model techniques developed here address many of the challenges present when quantifying urban greenhouse gas emissions and will help in the design of future measurement schemes in other cities.

Seiten (von - bis)13131-13147
FachzeitschriftAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 6 Sept. 2021


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