John R. Worden

and 12 more

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.

Sudhanshu Pandey

and 11 more

The atmospheric CO2 growth rate is a fundamental measure of climate forcing. NOAA's growth rate estimates, derived from in situ observations at the marine boundary layer (MBL), serve as the benchmark in policy and science. However, NOAA's MBL-based method encounters challenges in accurately estimating the whole-atmosphere CO2 growth rate at sub-annual scales. We introduce the Growth Rate from Satellite Observations (GRESO) method as a complementary approach to estimate the whole-atmosphere CO2 growth rate utilizing satellite data. Satellite CO2 observations offer extensive atmospheric coverage that extends the capability of the current NOAA benchmark. We assess the sampling errors of the GRESO and NOAA methods using ten atmospheric transport model simulations. The simulations generate synthetic OCO-2 satellite and NOAA MBL data for calculating CO2 growth rates, which are compared against the global sum of carbon fluxes used as model inputs. We find good performance for the NOAA method (R = 0.93, RMSE = 0.12 ppm/year or 0.25 PgC/year). GRESO demonstrates lower sampling errors (R = 1.00; RMSE = 0.04 ppm/year or 0.09 PgC/year). Additionally, GRESO shows better performance at monthly scales than NOAA (R = 0.77 vs 0.47, respectively). Due to CO2's atmospheric longevity, the NOAA method accurately captures growth rates over five-year intervals. GRESO's robustness across partial coverage configurations (ocean or land data) shows that satellites can be promising tools for low-latency CO2 growth rate information, provided the systematic biases are minimized using in situ observations. Along with accurate and calibrated NOAA in situ data, satellite-derived growth rates can provide information about the global carbon cycle at sub-annual scales.