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We investigate the sensitivity of future spaceborne lidar measurements to changes in surface methane emissions. We use surface methane observations from nine European ground stations and a Lagrangian transport model to infer surface methane emissions for 2010. Our inversion shows the strongest emissions from the Netherlands, the coal mines in Upper Silesia, Poland, and wetlands in southern Finland. The simulated methane surface concentrations capture at least half of the daily variability in the observations, suggesting that the transport model is correctly simulating the regional transport pathways over Europe. With this tool we can test whether proposed methane lidar instruments will be sensitive to changes in surface emissions. We show that future lidar instruments should be able to detect a 50% reduction in methane emissions from the Netherlands and Germany, at least during summer.
Weaver, C., C. Kiemle, S. R. Kawa, T. Aalto, J. Necki, M. Steinbacher, J. Arduini, F. Apadula, H. Berkhout, & J. Hatakka, Retrieval of methane source strengths in Europe using a simple modeling approach to assess the potential of spaceborne lidar observations, Atmos. Chem. Phys. 14:2625-2637 (2014).