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Environ Sci Technol ; 2021 Nov 29.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34842427


Two years of satellite observations were used to quantify methane emissions from coal mines in Queensland, the largest coal-producing state in Australia. The six analyzed surface and underground coal mines are estimated to emit 570 ± 98 Gg a-1 in 2018-2019. Together, they account for 7% of the national coal production while emitting 55 ± 10% of the reported methane emission from coal mining in Australia. Our results indicate that for two of the three locations, our satellite-based estimates are significantly higher than reported to the Australian government. Most remarkably, 40% of the quantified emission came from a single surface mine (Hail Creek) located in a methane-rich coal basin. Our findings call for increased monitoring and investment in methane recovery technologies for both surface and underground mines.

Nature ; 597(7876): 366-369, 2021 09.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34526704


Southeast Australia experienced intensive and geographically extensive wildfires during the 2019-2020 summer season1,2. The fires released substantial amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere3. However, existing emission estimates based on fire inventories are uncertain4, and vary by up to a factor of four for this event. Here we constrain emission estimates with the help of satellite observations of carbon monoxide5, an analytical Bayesian inversion6 and observed ratios between emitted carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide7. We estimate emissions of carbon dioxide to be 715 teragrams (range 517-867) from November 2019 to January 2020. This is more than twice the estimate derived by five different fire inventories8-12, and broadly consistent with estimates based on a bottom-up bootstrap analysis of this fire episode13. Although fires occur regularly in the savannas in northern Australia, the recent episodes were extremely large in scale and intensity, burning unusually large areas of eucalyptus forest in the southeast13. The fires were driven partly by climate change14,15, making better-constrained emission estimates particularly important. This is because the build-up of atmospheric carbon dioxide may become increasingly dependent on fire-driven climate-carbon feedbacks, as highlighted by this event16.

Dióxido de Carbono/análisis , Imágenes Satelitales , Incendios Forestales/estadística & datos numéricos , Atmósfera/química , Australia , Teorema de Bayes , Monóxido de Carbono/análisis , Cambio Climático , Eucalyptus , Bosques , Pradera , Incertidumbre
Philos Trans A Math Phys Eng Sci ; 379(2210): 20210106, 2021 Nov 15.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34565220


Surface observations have recorded large and incompletely understood changes to atmospheric methane (CH4) this century. However, their ability to reveal the responsible surface sources and sinks is limited by their geographical distribution, which is biased towards the northern midlatitudes. Data from Earth-orbiting satellites designed specifically to measure atmospheric CH4 have been available since 2009 with the launch of the Japanese Greenhouse gases Observing SATellite (GOSAT). We assess the added value of GOSAT to data collected by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which have been the lynchpin for knowledge about atmospheric CH4 since the 1980s. To achieve that we use the GEOS-Chem atmospheric chemistry transport model and an inverse method to infer a posteriori flux estimates from the NOAA and GOSAT data using common a priori emission inventories. We find the main benefit of GOSAT data is from its additional coverage over the tropics where we report large increases since the 2014/2016 El Niño, driven by biomass burning, biogenic emissions and energy production. We use data from the European TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument to show how better spatial coverage and resolution measurements allow us to quantify previously unattainable diffuse sources of CH4, thereby opening up a new research frontier. This article is part of a discussion meeting issue 'Rising methane: is warming feeding warming? (part 1)'.

Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31843920


Methane emissions due to accidents in the oil and natural gas sector are very challenging to monitor, and hence are seldom considered in emission inventories and reporting. One of the main reasons is the lack of measurements during such events. Here we report the detection of large methane emissions from a gas well blowout in Ohio during February to March 2018 in the total column methane measurements from the spaceborne Tropospheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI). From these data, we derive a methane emission rate of 120 ± 32 metric tons per hour. This hourly emission rate is twice that of the widely reported Aliso Canyon event in California in 2015. Assuming the detected emission represents the average rate for the 20-d blowout period, we find the total methane emission from the well blowout is comparable to one-quarter of the entire state of Ohio's reported annual oil and natural gas methane emission, or, alternatively, a substantial fraction of the annual anthropogenic methane emissions from several European countries. Our work demonstrates the strength and effectiveness of routine satellite measurements in detecting and quantifying greenhouse gas emission from unpredictable events. In this specific case, the magnitude of a relatively unknown yet extremely large accidental leakage was revealed using measurements of TROPOMI in its routine global survey, providing quantitative assessment of associated methane emissions.