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Verifying Methane Inventories and Trends With Atmospheric Methane Data
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  • John R. Worden,
  • Sudhanshu Pandey,
  • Yuzhong Zhang,
  • Daniel Cusworth,
  • Zhen Qu,
  • A. Anthony Bloom,
  • Shuang Ma,
  • Joannes Dyonisius Maasakkers,
  • Brendany Byrne,
  • Riley M Duren,
  • David Crisp,
  • Deborah Gordon,
  • Daniel J. Jacob
John R. Worden
JPL / Caltech

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Sudhanshu Pandey
JPL / Caltech
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Yuzhong Zhang
Westlake University
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Daniel Cusworth
U. of Arizona
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Zhen Qu
North Carolina State University
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A. Anthony Bloom
JPL / Caltech
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Shuang Ma
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology
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Joannes Dyonisius Maasakkers
SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research
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Brendany Byrne
JPL / Caltech
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Riley M Duren
University of Arizona
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David Crisp
Crisp Spectra, LLC
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Deborah Gordon
Rocky Mountain Institute
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Daniel J. Jacob
Harvard University
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The 2015 Paris Climate Agreement and Global Methane Pledge formalized agreement for countries to report and reduce methane emissions to mitigate near-term climate change. Emission inventories generated through surface activity measurements are reported annually or bi-annually and evaluated periodically through a “Global Stocktake”. Emissions inverted from atmospheric data support evaluation of reported inventories, but their systematic use is stifled by spatially variable biases from prior errors combined with limited sensitivity of observations to emissions (smoothing error), as-well-as poorly characterized information content. Here, we demonstrate a Bayesian, optimal estimation (OE) algorithm for evaluating a state-of-the-art inventory (EDGAR v6.0) using satellite-based emissions from 2009 to 2018. The OE algorithm quantifies the information content (uncertainty reduction, sectoral attribution, spatial resolution) of the satellite-based emissions and disentangles the effect of smoothing error when comparing to an inventory. We find robust differences between satellite and EDGAR for total livestock, rice, and coal emissions: 14 ± 9, 12 ± 8, -11 ± 6 Tg CH4/yr respectively. EDGAR and satellite agree that livestock emissions are increasing (0.25 to 1.3 Tg CH4/ yr / yr), primarily in the Indo-Pakistan region, sub-tropical Africa, and the Brazilian arc of deforestation; East Asia rice emissions are also increasing, highlighting the importance of agriculture on the atmospheric methane growth rate. In contrast, low information content for the waste and fossil emission trends confounds comparison between EDGAR and satellite; increased sampling and spatial resolution of satellite observations are therefore needed to evaluate reported changes to emissions in these sectors.
12 Jan 2023Submitted to ESS Open Archive
16 Jan 2023Published in ESS Open Archive