skip to main content


Title: Estimating global and North American methane emissions with high spatial resolution using GOSAT satellite data

We use 2009–2011 space-borne methane observations from the Greenhouse Gases Observing SATellite (GOSAT) to constrain global and North American inversions of methane emissions with 4° × 5° and up to 50 km × 50 km spatial resolution, respectively. The GOSAT data are first evaluated with atmospheric methane observations from surface networks (NOAA, TCCON) and aircraft (NOAA/DOE, HIPPO), using the GEOS-Chem chemical transport model as a platform to facilitate comparison of GOSAT with in situ data. This identifies a high-latitude bias between the GOSAT data and GEOS-Chem that we correct via quadratic regression. The surface and aircraft data are subsequently used for independent evaluation of the methane source inversions. Our global adjoint-based inversion yields a total methane source of 539 Tg a −1 and points to a large East Asian overestimate in the EDGARv4.2 inventory used as a prior. Results serve as dynamic boundary conditions for an analytical inversion of North American methane emissions using radial basis functions to achieve high resolution of large sources and provide full error characterization. We infer a US anthropogenic methane source of 40.2–42.7 Tg a −1, as compared to 24.9–27.0 Tg a −1 in the EDGAR and EPA bottom-up inventories, and 30.0–44.5 Tg a −1more » in recent inverse studies. Our estimate is supported by independent surface and aircraft data and by previous inverse studies for California. We find that the emissions are highest in the South-Central US, the Central Valley of California, and Florida wetlands, large isolated point sources such as the US Four Corners also contribute. We attribute 29–44% of US anthropogenic methane emissions to livestock, 22–31% to oil/gas, 20% to landfills/waste water, and 11–15% to coal with an additional 9.0–10.1 Tg a −1 source from wetlands.« less
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ORCiD logo ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; more »; « less
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Computational Science Graduate Fellowship (CSGF)
Published Article
Journal Name:
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions (Online)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions (Online); Journal Volume: 15; Journal Issue: 4; Journal ID: ISSN 1680-7375
European Geosciences Union
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
OSTI Identifier: