Evaluating methane inventories by isotopic analysis in the London region

G. Zazzeri, D. Lowry, R. E. Fisher, J. L. France, M. Lanoisellé, C. S. B. Grimmond, E. G. Nisbet

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A thorough understanding of methane sources is necessary to accomplish methane reduction targets. Urban environments, where a large variety of methane sources coexist, are one of the most complex areas to investigate. Methane sources are characterised by specific δ13C-CH4 signatures, so high precision stable isotope analysis of atmospheric methane can be used to give a better understanding of urban sources and their partition in a source mix. Diurnal measurements of methane and carbon dioxide mole fraction, and isotopic values at King’s College London, enabled assessment of the isotopic signal of the source mix in central London. Surveys with a mobile measurement system in the London region were also carried out for detection of methane plumes at near ground level, in order to evaluate the spatial allocation of sources suggested by the inventories. The measured isotopic signal in central London (−45.7 ±0.5‰) was more than 2‰ higher than the isotopic value calculated using emission inventories and updated δ13C-CH4 signatures. Besides, during the mobile surveys, many gas leaks were identified that are not included in the inventories. This suggests that a revision of the source distribution given by the emission inventories is needed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4854
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2017

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