Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2024-115
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2024-115
06 Jun 2024
 | 06 Jun 2024
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

Global Methane Budget 2000–2020

Marielle Saunois, Adrien Martinez, Benjamin Poulter, Zhen Zhang, Peter Raymond, Pierre Regnier, Joseph G. Canadell, Robert B. Jackson, Prabir K. Patra, Philippe Bousquet, Philippe Ciais, Edward J. Dlugokencky, Xin Lan, George H. Allen, David Bastviken, David J. Beerling, Dmitry A. Belikov, Donald R. Blake, Simona Castaldi, Monica Crippa, Bridget R. Deemer, Fraser Dennison, Giuseppe Etiope, Nicola Gedney, Lena Höglund-Isaksson, Meredith A. Holgerson, Peter O. Hopcroft, Gustaf Hugelius, Akihito Ito, Atul K. Jain, Rajesh Janardanan, Matthew S. Johnson, Thomas Kleinen, Paul Krummel, Ronny Lauerwald, Tingting Li, Xiangyu Liu, Kyle C. McDonald, Joe R. Melton, Jens Mühle, Jurek Müller, Fabiola Murguia-Flores, Yosuke Niwa, Sergio Noce, Shufen Pan, Robert J. Parker, Changhui Peng, Michel Ramonet, William J. Riley, Gerard Rocher-Ros, Judith A. Rosentreter, Motoki Sasakawa, Arjo Segers, Steven J. Smith, Emily H. Stanley, Joel Thanwerdas, Hanquin Tian, Aki Tsuruta, Francesco N. Tubiello, Thomas S. Weber, Guido van der Werf, Doug E. Worthy, Yi Xi, Yukio Yoshida, Wenxin Zhang, Bo Zheng, Qing Zhu, Qiuan Zhu, and Qianlai Zhuang

Abstract. Understanding and quantifying the global methane (CH4) budget is important for assessing realistic pathways to mitigate climate change. Emissions and atmospheric concentrations of CH4 continue to increase, maintaining CH4 as the second most important human-influenced greenhouse gas in terms of climate forcing after carbon dioxide (CO2). The relative importance of CH4 compared to CO2 for temperature change is related to its shorter atmospheric lifetime, stronger radiative effect, and acceleration in atmospheric growth rate over the past decade, the causes of which are still debated. Two major challenges in reducing uncertainties in the factors explaining the well-observed atmospheric growth rate arise from diverse, geographically overlapping CH4 sources and from the uncertain magnitude and temporal change in the destruction of CH4 by short-lived and highly variable hydroxyl radicals (OH). To address these challenges, we have established a consortium of multi-disciplinary scientists under the umbrella of the Global Carbon Project to improve, synthesise and update the global CH4 budget regularly and to stimulate new research on the methane cycle. Following Saunois et al. (2016, 2020), we present here the third version of the living review paper dedicated to the decadal CH4 budget, integrating results of top-down CH4 emission estimates (based on in-situ and greenhouse gas observing satellite (GOSAT) atmospheric observations and an ensemble of atmospheric inverse-model results) and bottom-up estimates (based on process-based models for estimating land-surface emissions and atmospheric chemistry, inventories of anthropogenic emissions, and data-driven extrapolations). We present a budget for the most recent 2010–2019 calendar decade (the latest period for which full datasets are available), for the previous decade of 2000–2009 and for the year 2020.

The revision of the bottom-up budget in this edition benefits from important progress in estimating inland freshwater emissions, with better accounting of emissions from lakes and ponds, reservoirs, and streams and rivers. This budget also reduces double accounting across freshwater and wetland emissions and, for the first time, includes an estimate of the potential double accounting that still exists (average of 23 Tg CH4 yr-1). Bottom-up approaches show that the combined wetland and inland freshwater emissions average 248 [159–369] Tg CH4 yr-1 for the 2010–2019 decade. Natural fluxes are perturbed by human activities through climate, eutrophication, and land use. In this budget, we also estimate, for the first time, this anthropogenic component contributing to wetland and inland freshwater emissions. Newly available gridded products also allowed us to derive an almost complete latitudinal and regional budget based on bottom-up approaches.

For the 2010–2019 decade, global CH4 emissions are estimated by atmospheric inversions (top-down) to be 575 Tg CH4 yr-1 (range 553–586, corresponding to the minimum and maximum estimates of the model ensemble). Of this amount, 369 Tg CH4 yr-1 or ~65 % are attributed to direct anthropogenic sources in the fossil, agriculture and waste and anthropogenic biomass burning (range 350–391 Tg CH4 yr-1 or 63–68 %). For the 2000–2009 period, the atmospheric inversions give a slightly lower total emission than for 2010–2019, by 32 Tg CH4 yr-1 (range 9–40). Since 2012, global direct anthropogenic CH4 emission trends have been tracking scenarios that assume no or minimal climate mitigation policies proposed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (shared socio-economic pathways SSP5 and SSP3). Bottom-up methods suggest 16 % (94 Tg CH4 yr-1) larger global emissions (669 Tg CH4 yr-1, range 512–849) than top-down inversion methods for the 2010–2019 period. The discrepancy between the bottom-up and the top-down budgets has been greatly reduced compared to the previous differences (167 and 156 Tg CH4 yr-1 in Saunois et al. (2016, 2020), respectively), and for the first time uncertainty in bottom-up and top-down budgets overlap. The latitudinal distribution from atmospheric inversion-based emissions indicates a predominance of tropical and southern hemisphere emissions (~65 % of the global budget, <30° N) compared to mid (30° N–60° N, ~30 % of emissions) and high-northern latitudes (60° N–90° N, ~4 % of global emissions). This latitudinal distribution is similar in the bottom-up budget though the bottom-up budget estimates slightly larger contributions for the mid and high-northern latitudes, and slightly smaller contributions from the tropics and southern hemisphere than the inversions. Although differences have been reduced between inversions and bottom-up, the most important source of uncertainty in the global CH4 budget is still attributable to natural emissions, especially those from wetlands and inland freshwaters.

We identify five major priorities for improving the CH4 budget: i) producing a global, high-resolution map of water-saturated soils and inundated areas emitting CH4 based on a robust classification of different types of emitting ecosystems; ii) further development of process-based models for inland-water emissions; iii) intensification of CH4 observations at local (e.g., FLUXNET-CH4 measurements, urban-scale monitoring, satellite imagery with pointing capabilities) to regional scales (surface networks and global remote sensing measurements from satellites) to constrain both bottom-up models and atmospheric inversions; iv) improvements of transport models and the representation of photochemical sinks in top-down inversions, and v) integration of 3D variational inversion systems using isotopic and/or co-emitted species such as ethane as well as information in the bottom-up inventories on anthropogenic super-emitters detected by remote sensing (mainly oil and gas sector but also coal, agriculture and landfills) to improve source partitioning.

The data presented here can be downloaded from https://doi.org/10.18160/GKQ9-2RHT (Martinez et al., 2024).

Publisher's note: Copernicus Publications remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims made in the text, published maps, institutional affiliations, or any other geographical representation in this preprint. The responsibility to include appropriate place names lies with the authors.
Marielle Saunois, Adrien Martinez, Benjamin Poulter, Zhen Zhang, Peter Raymond, Pierre Regnier, Joseph G. Canadell, Robert B. Jackson, Prabir K. Patra, Philippe Bousquet, Philippe Ciais, Edward J. Dlugokencky, Xin Lan, George H. Allen, David Bastviken, David J. Beerling, Dmitry A. Belikov, Donald R. Blake, Simona Castaldi, Monica Crippa, Bridget R. Deemer, Fraser Dennison, Giuseppe Etiope, Nicola Gedney, Lena Höglund-Isaksson, Meredith A. Holgerson, Peter O. Hopcroft, Gustaf Hugelius, Akihito Ito, Atul K. Jain, Rajesh Janardanan, Matthew S. Johnson, Thomas Kleinen, Paul Krummel, Ronny Lauerwald, Tingting Li, Xiangyu Liu, Kyle C. McDonald, Joe R. Melton, Jens Mühle, Jurek Müller, Fabiola Murguia-Flores, Yosuke Niwa, Sergio Noce, Shufen Pan, Robert J. Parker, Changhui Peng, Michel Ramonet, William J. Riley, Gerard Rocher-Ros, Judith A. Rosentreter, Motoki Sasakawa, Arjo Segers, Steven J. Smith, Emily H. Stanley, Joel Thanwerdas, Hanquin Tian, Aki Tsuruta, Francesco N. Tubiello, Thomas S. Weber, Guido van der Werf, Doug E. Worthy, Yi Xi, Yukio Yoshida, Wenxin Zhang, Bo Zheng, Qing Zhu, Qiuan Zhu, and Qianlai Zhuang

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • CC1: 'Comment on essd-2024-115', David Plummer, 10 Jun 2024
  • RC1: 'Comment on essd-2024-115', Anonymous Referee #1, 16 Jun 2024
  • RC2: 'Global Methane Budget needs focus and discernment', Anonymous Referee #2, 28 Jun 2024
  • RC3: 'Comment on essd-2024-115', Anonymous Referee #3, 05 Jul 2024
Marielle Saunois, Adrien Martinez, Benjamin Poulter, Zhen Zhang, Peter Raymond, Pierre Regnier, Joseph G. Canadell, Robert B. Jackson, Prabir K. Patra, Philippe Bousquet, Philippe Ciais, Edward J. Dlugokencky, Xin Lan, George H. Allen, David Bastviken, David J. Beerling, Dmitry A. Belikov, Donald R. Blake, Simona Castaldi, Monica Crippa, Bridget R. Deemer, Fraser Dennison, Giuseppe Etiope, Nicola Gedney, Lena Höglund-Isaksson, Meredith A. Holgerson, Peter O. Hopcroft, Gustaf Hugelius, Akihito Ito, Atul K. Jain, Rajesh Janardanan, Matthew S. Johnson, Thomas Kleinen, Paul Krummel, Ronny Lauerwald, Tingting Li, Xiangyu Liu, Kyle C. McDonald, Joe R. Melton, Jens Mühle, Jurek Müller, Fabiola Murguia-Flores, Yosuke Niwa, Sergio Noce, Shufen Pan, Robert J. Parker, Changhui Peng, Michel Ramonet, William J. Riley, Gerard Rocher-Ros, Judith A. Rosentreter, Motoki Sasakawa, Arjo Segers, Steven J. Smith, Emily H. Stanley, Joel Thanwerdas, Hanquin Tian, Aki Tsuruta, Francesco N. Tubiello, Thomas S. Weber, Guido van der Werf, Doug E. Worthy, Yi Xi, Yukio Yoshida, Wenxin Zhang, Bo Zheng, Qing Zhu, Qiuan Zhu, and Qianlai Zhuang
Marielle Saunois, Adrien Martinez, Benjamin Poulter, Zhen Zhang, Peter Raymond, Pierre Regnier, Joseph G. Canadell, Robert B. Jackson, Prabir K. Patra, Philippe Bousquet, Philippe Ciais, Edward J. Dlugokencky, Xin Lan, George H. Allen, David Bastviken, David J. Beerling, Dmitry A. Belikov, Donald R. Blake, Simona Castaldi, Monica Crippa, Bridget R. Deemer, Fraser Dennison, Giuseppe Etiope, Nicola Gedney, Lena Höglund-Isaksson, Meredith A. Holgerson, Peter O. Hopcroft, Gustaf Hugelius, Akihito Ito, Atul K. Jain, Rajesh Janardanan, Matthew S. Johnson, Thomas Kleinen, Paul Krummel, Ronny Lauerwald, Tingting Li, Xiangyu Liu, Kyle C. McDonald, Joe R. Melton, Jens Mühle, Jurek Müller, Fabiola Murguia-Flores, Yosuke Niwa, Sergio Noce, Shufen Pan, Robert J. Parker, Changhui Peng, Michel Ramonet, William J. Riley, Gerard Rocher-Ros, Judith A. Rosentreter, Motoki Sasakawa, Arjo Segers, Steven J. Smith, Emily H. Stanley, Joel Thanwerdas, Hanquin Tian, Aki Tsuruta, Francesco N. Tubiello, Thomas S. Weber, Guido van der Werf, Doug E. Worthy, Yi Xi, Yukio Yoshida, Wenxin Zhang, Bo Zheng, Qing Zhu, Qiuan Zhu, and Qianlai Zhuang

Viewed

Total article views: 1,495 (including HTML, PDF, and XML)
HTML PDF XML Total Supplement BibTeX EndNote
1,068 405 22 1,495 50 11 20
  • HTML: 1,068
  • PDF: 405
  • XML: 22
  • Total: 1,495
  • Supplement: 50
  • BibTeX: 11
  • EndNote: 20
Views and downloads (calculated since 06 Jun 2024)
Cumulative views and downloads (calculated since 06 Jun 2024)

Viewed (geographical distribution)

Total article views: 1,413 (including HTML, PDF, and XML) Thereof 1,413 with geography defined and 0 with unknown origin.
Country # Views %
  • 1
1
 
 
 
 
Latest update: 18 Jul 2024
Download
Short summary
Methane (CH4) is the second most important human-influenced greenhouse gas in terms of climate forcing after carbon dioxide (CO2). A consortium of multi-disciplinary scientists synthesize and update the budget of the sources and sinks of CH4. This edition benefits from important progresses in estimating emissions from lakes and ponds, reservoirs, and streams and rivers. For the 2010s decade, global CH4 emissions are estimated at 575 Tg CH4 yr-1, including ~65 % from anthropogenic sources.
Altmetrics