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

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


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.



Atmospheric Sciences, Climate


Methane increase, inverse modeling


Published: 2024-01-04 20:23

Last Updated: 2024-01-05 01:23


CC BY Attribution 4.0 International