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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Estimating methane emissions from biological and fossil-fuel sources in the San Francisco Bay Area

  • Author(s): Jeong, Seongeun
  • Cui, Xinguang
  • Blake, Donald R
  • Miller, Ben
  • Montzka, Stephen A
  • Andrews, Arlyn
  • Guha, Abhinav
  • Martien, Philip
  • Bambha, Ray P
  • LaFranchi, Brian
  • Michelsen, Hope A
  • Clements, Craig B
  • Glaize, Pierre
  • Fischer, Marc L
  • et al.

©2016. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. We present the first sector-specific analysis of methane (CH4) emissions from the San Francisco Bay Area (SFBA) using CH4 and volatile organic compound (VOC) measurements from six sites during September – December 2015. We apply a hierarchical Bayesian inversion to separate the biological from fossil-fuel (natural gas and petroleum) sources using the measurements of CH4 and selected VOCs, a source-specific 1 km CH4 emission model, and an atmospheric transport model. We estimate that SFBA CH4 emissions are 166–289 Gg CH4/yr (at 95% confidence), 1.3–2.3 times higher than a recent inventory with much of the underestimation from landfill. Including the VOCs, 82 ± 27% of total posterior median CH4 emissions are biological and 17 ± 3% fossil fuel, where landfill and natural gas dominate the biological and fossil-fuel CH4 of prior emissions, respectively.

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