2022 journal article

Methane emissions in the United States, Canada, and Mexico: evaluation of national methane emission inventories and 2010–2017 sectoral trends by inverse analysis of in situ (GLOBALVIEWplus CH<sub>4</sub> ObsPack) and satellite (GOSAT) atmospheric observations

Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 22(1), 395–418.

UN Sustainable Development Goal Categories
13. Climate Action (OpenAlex)
Source: ORCID
Added: September 4, 2023

Abstract. We quantify methane emissions and their 2010–2017 trends by sector in the contiguous United States (CONUS), Canada, and Mexico by inverse analysis of in situ (GLOBALVIEWplus CH4 ObsPack) and satellite (GOSAT) atmospheric methane observations. The inversion uses as a prior estimate the national anthropogenic emission inventories for the three countries reported by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), and the Instituto Nacional de Ecología y Cambio Climático (INECC) in Mexico to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and thus serves as an evaluation of these inventories in terms of their magnitudes and trends. Emissions are optimized with a Gaussian mixture model (GMM) at 0.5∘×0.625∘ resolution and for individual years. Optimization is done analytically using lognormal error forms. This yields closed-form statistics of error covariances and information content on the posterior (optimized) estimates, allows better representation of the high tail of the emission distribution, and enables construction of a large ensemble of inverse solutions using different observations and assumptions. We find that GOSAT and in situ observations are largely consistent and complementary in the optimization of methane emissions for North America. Mean 2010–2017 anthropogenic emissions from our base GOSAT + in situ inversion, with ranges from the inversion ensemble, are 36.9 (32.5–37.8) Tg a−1 for CONUS, 5.3 (3.6–5.7) Tg a−1 for Canada, and 6.0 (4.7–6.1) Tg a−1 for Mexico. These are higher than the most recent reported national inventories of 26.0 Tg a−1 for the US (EPA), 4.0 Tg a−1 for Canada (ECCC), and 5.0 Tg a−1 for Mexico (INECC). The correction in all three countries is largely driven by a factor of 2 underestimate in emissions from the oil sector with major contributions from the south-central US, western Canada, and southeastern Mexico. Total CONUS anthropogenic emissions in our inversion peak in 2014, in contrast to the EPA report of a steady decreasing trend over 2010–2017. This reflects offsetting effects of increasing emissions from the oil and landfill sectors, decreasing emissions from the gas sector, and flat emissions from the livestock and coal sectors. We find decreasing trends in Canadian and Mexican anthropogenic methane emissions over the 2010–2017 period, mainly driven by oil and gas emissions. Our best estimates of mean 2010–2017 wetland emissions are 8.4 (6.4–10.6) Tg a−1 for CONUS, 9.9 (7.8–12.0) Tg a−1 for Canada, and 0.6 (0.4–0.6) Tg a−1 for Mexico. Wetland emissions in CONUS show an increasing trend of +2.6 (+1.7 to +3.8)% a−1 over 2010–2017 correlated with precipitation.