Inverse modeling of satellite observations shows that the wet tropics drive the 2010-2022 methane increase

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Authors

Zhen Qu , Daniel J. Jacob, Anthony Bloom, John Worden, Robert J. Parker, Hartmut Boesch

Abstract

Atmospheric methane concentrations rose rapidly over the past decade and surged in 2020-2022 but the causes are unclear. We find from inverse analysis of GOSAT satellite observations that global methane emissions increased from 500 to 550 Tg a-1 from 2010 to 2019 and surged to 570-590 Tg a-1 in 2020-2022. Concentrations of tropospheric OH (the main methane sink) show no long-term trend over 2010-2019, but a decrease over 2020-2022 that explains 28% of the methane surge. The methane emission increase over 2010-2022 is mainly from the wet tropics with dominant anthropogenic and wetland contributions from Africa (43% of the global emission increase), South America (18%), Equatorial Asia (18%), and India and Pakistan (12%). Emissions from the US and Russia decreased slightly over the period. The 2020-2022 emission surge is consistent with the terrestrial water storage increase due to tropical inundation in Africa and Equatorial Asia associated with La Niña conditions.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.31223/X5WD6W

Subjects

Atmospheric Sciences, Climate

Keywords

Methane increase, inverse modeling

Dates

Published: 2024-01-04 20:23

Last Updated: 2024-01-05 01:23

License

CC BY Attribution 4.0 International