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Title: Temporal variability largely explains top-down/bottom-up difference in methane emission estimates from a natural gas production region

Abstract

Here, this study spatially and temporally aligns top-down and bottom-up methane emission estimates for a natural gas production basin, using multiscale emission measurements and detailed activity data reporting. We show that episodic venting from manual liquid unloadings, which occur at a small fraction of natural gas well pads, drives a factor-of-two temporal variation in the basin-scale emission rate of a US dry shale gas play. The midafternoon peak emission rate aligns with the sampling time of all regional aircraft emission studies, which target well-mixed boundary layer conditions present in the afternoon. A mechanistic understanding of emission estimates derived from various methods is critical for unbiased emission verification and effective greenhouse gas emission mitigation. Our results demonstrate that direct comparison of emission estimates from methods covering widely different timescales can be misleading.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1];  [1];  [1]; ORCiD logo [2]; ORCiD logo [3];  [2];  [1];  [4];  [5]
  1. Colorado State Univ., Fort Collins, CO (United States)
  2. Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO (United States); National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Boulder, CO (United States)
  3. National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States); Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis, Golden, CO (United States)
  4. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Boulder, CO (United States)
  5. Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
Colorado Energy Research Collaboratory; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Program Office; Southwestern Energy; XTO Energy; USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1483064
Report Number(s):
NREL/JA-6A20-70770
Journal ID: ISSN 0027-8424
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC36-08GO28308
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 115; Journal Issue: 46; Journal ID: ISSN 0027-8424
Publisher:
National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC (United States)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
03 NATURAL GAS; natural gas; methane emissions; top-down; bottom-up; spatiotemporal inventory model

Citation Formats

Vaughn, Timothy L., Bell, Clay S., Pickering, Cody K., Schwietzke, Stefan, Heath, Garvin A., Pétron, Gabrielle, Zimmerle, Daniel J., Schnell, Russell C., and Nummedal, Dag. Temporal variability largely explains top-down/bottom-up difference in methane emission estimates from a natural gas production region. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1073/pnas.1805687115.
Vaughn, Timothy L., Bell, Clay S., Pickering, Cody K., Schwietzke, Stefan, Heath, Garvin A., Pétron, Gabrielle, Zimmerle, Daniel J., Schnell, Russell C., & Nummedal, Dag. Temporal variability largely explains top-down/bottom-up difference in methane emission estimates from a natural gas production region. United States. doi:10.1073/pnas.1805687115.
Vaughn, Timothy L., Bell, Clay S., Pickering, Cody K., Schwietzke, Stefan, Heath, Garvin A., Pétron, Gabrielle, Zimmerle, Daniel J., Schnell, Russell C., and Nummedal, Dag. Mon . "Temporal variability largely explains top-down/bottom-up difference in methane emission estimates from a natural gas production region". United States. doi:10.1073/pnas.1805687115. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1483064.
@article{osti_1483064,
title = {Temporal variability largely explains top-down/bottom-up difference in methane emission estimates from a natural gas production region},
author = {Vaughn, Timothy L. and Bell, Clay S. and Pickering, Cody K. and Schwietzke, Stefan and Heath, Garvin A. and Pétron, Gabrielle and Zimmerle, Daniel J. and Schnell, Russell C. and Nummedal, Dag},
abstractNote = {Here, this study spatially and temporally aligns top-down and bottom-up methane emission estimates for a natural gas production basin, using multiscale emission measurements and detailed activity data reporting. We show that episodic venting from manual liquid unloadings, which occur at a small fraction of natural gas well pads, drives a factor-of-two temporal variation in the basin-scale emission rate of a US dry shale gas play. The midafternoon peak emission rate aligns with the sampling time of all regional aircraft emission studies, which target well-mixed boundary layer conditions present in the afternoon. A mechanistic understanding of emission estimates derived from various methods is critical for unbiased emission verification and effective greenhouse gas emission mitigation. Our results demonstrate that direct comparison of emission estimates from methods covering widely different timescales can be misleading.},
doi = {10.1073/pnas.1805687115},
journal = {Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America},
number = 46,
volume = 115,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {10}
}

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Cited by: 9 works
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    Open-path cavity ring-down methane sensor for mobile monitoring of natural gas emissions
    journal, January 2019

    • Mchale, Laura E.; Martinez, Benjamin; Miller, Thomas W.
    • Optics Express, Vol. 27, Issue 14
    • DOI: 10.1364/oe.27.020084