Scientific Publications

Spatial variability of methane: Attributing atmospheric concentrations to emissions


Abstract - Atmospheric methane concentrations were quantified along transects in Switzerland, using a mobile laser spectrometer combined with a GPS, to identify their spatio-temporal patterns and their controlling factors. Based on these measurements in complex terrain dominated by agriculture, three main factors were found to be responsible for the diurnal and regional patterns of atmospheric methane: (1) magnitude and distribution of methane sources within the region, (2) efficiency of vertical exchange, and (3) local wind patterns within the complex topography. An autocorrelation analysis of measured methane concentrations showed that nighttime measurements close to the ground provide information about regional sources (up to 8.3 km), while daytime measurements only carry information about sources located up to 240 m away in the upwind fetch. Compared to daytime concentrations, nighttime methane concentrations do also better reflect emissions obtained from a spatially explicit methane emission inventory and allowed the investigation of inconsistencies in this emission inventory.

Bamberger, I., J. Stieger, N. Buchmann, & W. Eugster (2014) Spatial variability of methane: Attributing atmospheric concentrations to emissions, Environmental Pollution 190:65-74.

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