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Methane Growth Rate Estimation and Its Causes in Western Canada Using Satellite Observations

Islam, S. M. Nazrul and Jackson, Peter L. and Sweeney, Colm and McKain, Kathryn and Frankenberg, Christian and Aben, Ilse and Parker, Robert J. and Boesch, Hartmut and Wunch, Debra (2021) Methane Growth Rate Estimation and Its Causes in Western Canada Using Satellite Observations. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 126 (21). Art. No. e2020JD033948. ISSN 2169-897X. doi:10.1029/2020jd033948.

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In this study, the GOSAT Proxy Retrieval (v9.0) data product of column-averaged dry-air mole fractions of atmospheric methane (XCH₄) for the period 2009–2019 was analyzed to detect methane (CH₄) trends in the three western Canadian provinces where oil and gas development activities have changed significantly over the last decade. Although we found statistically significant increasing XCH₄ trends in all subdomains (northeast British Columbia-NE, Alberta-AB, southern Saskatchewan-SK), XCH₄ trends are not higher than the background trend (7.25 ± 0.30 ppb/yr) and enhancement trends (ΔXCH₄, after removing the background quantity) are not detectable at any subdomain during 2009–2019. For further insight into trends in all subdomains, we divided the whole period (2009–2019) into two shorter periods (2009–2013 and 2014–2019) and estimated trends. We found XCH₄ trends are higher than background trends particularly in the AB and SK subdomains during 2009–2013, and their ΔXCH₄ trends are positive and also marginally statistically significant. However, we do not find any detectable ΔXCH₄ trend if we consider either long-term (2009–2019) or the second shorter period (2014–2019), suggesting local emission sources are dominating year to year fluctuation. From the source attribution analysis, we found both wetland and oil and gas sectors are controlling the CH₄ growth rate in western Canada, but the oil and gas sector is the dominant driver in NE and SK subdomains. We also found the satellite-based average ΔXCH₄ trend (15.43 ± 8.19%/yr) between 2009 and 2013 likely reflects a trend in oil and gas CH₄ emissions in AB and SK for the same period.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
https://tccondata.orgRelated ItemTCCON archive
Islam, S. M. Nazrul0000-0002-8051-8816
Jackson, Peter L.0000-0002-9005-3899
Sweeney, Colm0000-0002-4517-0797
McKain, Kathryn0000-0002-8323-5758
Frankenberg, Christian0000-0002-0546-5857
Aben, Ilse0000-0003-2198-0768
Parker, Robert J.0000-0002-0801-0831
Boesch, Hartmut0000-0003-3944-9879
Wunch, Debra0000-0002-4924-0377
Additional Information:© 2021 American Geophysical Union. Issue Online: 01 November 2021; Version of Record online: 01 November 2021; Accepted manuscript online: 20 October 2021; Manuscript accepted: 13 October 2021; Manuscript revised: 07 October 2021; Manuscript received: 23 September 2020. Dr. Islam was doctoral student at University of Northern British Columbia while conducting most of this study. The authors would like to express appreciation to the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions ( to support Graduate Fellowship to SMNI. Peter L. Jackson is funded by the NSERC Discovery Grant Program. The authors also would like to acknowledge Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S; for making the satellite data publicly available. C. Frankenberg and I. Aben are funded by European Space Agency (ESA). Robert J. Parker and Hartmut Boesch are funded via the UK National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO Grant Nos. NE/R016518/1 and NE/N018079/1). The authors acknowledge funding from the ESA GHG-CCI and Copernicus C3S projects. The authors thank the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency, National Institute for Environmental Studies, and the Ministry of Environment for the GOSAT data and their continuous support as part of the Joint Research Agreement. This research used the ALICE High Performance Computing Facility at the University of Leicester for the GOSAT retrievals. Data Availability Statement: TCCON data from the ETL site were obtained from the TCCON archive ( Funding for the ETL TCCON station is provided by CFI/ORF, NSERC, and the CSA. The NOAA Global Monitoring Laboratory (GML) is highly appreciated for methane mole fraction data from their aircraft measurements, and these data are publicly available ( We would like to offer special thanks to Kirk Thoning of NOAA/GML for producing 2018 back-trajectories. We also acknowledge several governments for accessing oil and gas development activities data and emission inventories from their public domains. Those valuable data were very helpful to interpret our satellite-based findings. All data sets used in this research work are publicly available and can be accessed through web portals and references we have provided in the manuscript.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Pacific Institute for Climate SolutionsUNSPECIFIED
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)UNSPECIFIED
European Space Agency (ESA)UNSPECIFIED
National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO)UNSPECIFIED
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)NE/R016518/1
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)NE/N018079/1
Issue or Number:21
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20211115-210047742
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Islam, S. M. N., Jackson, P. L., Sweeney, C., McKain, K., Frankenberg, C., Aben, I., et al. (2021). Methane growth rate estimation and its causes in western Canada using satellite observations. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 126, e2020JD033948.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:111873
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:15 Nov 2021 21:27
Last Modified:15 Nov 2021 21:27

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