2023 journal article

East Asian methane emissions inferred from high-resolution inversions of GOSAT and TROPOMI observations: a comparative and evaluative analysis


By: R. Liang, Y. Zhang, W. Chen, P. Zhang, J. Liu, C. Chen, H. Mao, G. Shen ...

UN Sustainable Development Goal Categories
13. Climate Action (Web of Science)
Source: Web Of Science
Added: August 21, 2023

Abstract. We apply atmospheric methane column retrievals from two different satellite instruments (Greenhouse gases Observing SATellite – GOSAT; TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument – TROPOMI) to a regional inversion framework to quantify East Asian methane emissions for 2019 at 0.5∘ × 0.625∘ horizontal resolution. The goal is to assess if GOSAT (relatively mature but sparse) and TROPOMI (new and dense) observations inform consistent methane emissions from East Asia with identically configured inversions. Comparison of the results from the two inversions shows similar correction patterns to the prior inventory in central northern China, central southern China, northeastern China, and Bangladesh, with less than 2.6 Tg a−1 differences in regional posterior emissions. The two inversions, however, disagree over some important regions, particularly in northern India and eastern China. The methane emissions inferred from GOSAT observations are 7.7 Tg a−1 higher than those from TROPOMI observations over northern India but 6.4 Tg a−1 lower over eastern China. The discrepancies between the two inversions are robust against varied inversion configurations (i.e., assimilation window and error specifications). We find that the lower methane emissions from eastern China inferred by the GOSAT inversion are more consistent with independent ground-based in situ and total column (TCCON) observations, indicating that the TROPOMI retrievals may have high XCH4 biases in this region. We also evaluate inversion results against tropospheric aircraft observations over India during 2012–2014 by using a consistent GOSAT inversion of earlier years as an intercomparison platform. This indirect evaluation favors lower methane emissions from northern India inferred by the TROPOMI inversion. We find that in this case the discrepancy in emission inference is contributed by differences in data coverage (almost no observations by GOSAT vs. good spatial coverage by TROPOMI) over the Indo-Gangetic Plain. The two inversions also differ substantially in their posterior estimates for northwestern China and neighboring Kazakhstan, which is mainly due to seasonally varying biases between GOSAT and TROPOMI XCH4 data that correlate with changes in surface albedo.