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Using the tracer flux ratio method with flight measurements to estimate dairy farm CH4 emissions in central California

  • Author(s): Daube, C;
  • Conley, S;
  • Faloona, IC;
  • Arndt, C;
  • Yacovitch, TI;
  • Roscioli, JR;
  • Herndon, SC
  • et al.

Tracer flux ratio methodology was applied to airborne measurements to quantify methane (CH4) emissions from two dairy farms in central California during the summer. An aircraft flew around the perimeter of each farm measuring downwind enhancements of CH4 and a tracer species released from the ground at a known rate. Estimates of CH4 emission rates from this analysis were determined for whole sites and major sources within a site (animal housing and liquid manure lagoons). Whole-site CH4 flux rates for each farm, Dairy 1 (6108±821kgCH4dg-1, 95% confidence interval) and Dairy 2 (4018±456kgCH4dg-1, 95% confidence interval), closely resembled findings by established methods: ground-based tracer flux ratio and mass balance. Individual source emission rates indicate a greater fraction of the whole-site emissions come from liquid manure management than animal housing activity, similar to bottom-up estimates. Despite differences in altitude, we observed that the tracer release method gave consistent results when using ground or air platforms..

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