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Atmospheric methane emissions correlate with natural gas consumption from residential and commercial sectors in Los Angeles

He, Liyin and Zeng, Zhao‐Cheng and Pongetti, Thomas and Wong, Clare and Liang, Jianming and Gurney, Kevin R. and Newman, Sally and Yadav, Vineet and Verhulst, Kristal and Miller, Charles E. and Duren, Riley and Frankenberg, Christian and Wennberg, Paul and Shia, Run‐Lie and Yung, Yuk L. and Sander, Stanley P. (2019) Atmospheric methane emissions correlate with natural gas consumption from residential and commercial sectors in Los Angeles. Geophysical Research Letters, 46 (14). pp. 8563-8571. ISSN 0094-8276. doi:10.1029/2019gl083400.

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Legislation in the State of California mandates reductions in emissions of short‐lived climate pollutants of 40% from 2013 levels by 2030 for CH_4. Identification of the sector(s) responsible for these emissions and their temporal and spatial variability is a key step in achieving these goals. Here, we determine the emissions of CH_4 in Los Angeles from 2011–2017 using a mountaintop remote sensing mapping spectrometer. We show that the pattern of CH_4 emissions contains both seasonal and nonseasonal contributions. We find that the seasonal component peaks in the winter and is correlated (R^2 = 0.58) with utility natural gas consumption from the residential and commercial sectors and not from the industrial and gas‐fired power plant sectors. The nonseasonal component is (22.9 ± 1.4) Gg CH_4/month. If the seasonal correlation is causal, about (1.4 ± 0.1)% of the commercial and residential natural gas consumption in Los Angeles is released into the atmosphere.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
He, Liyin0000-0003-4427-1438
Zeng, Zhao‐Cheng0000-0002-0008-6508
Pongetti, Thomas0000-0001-9465-0853
Liang, Jianming0000-0002-4043-6816
Gurney, Kevin R.0000-0001-9218-7164
Newman, Sally0000-0003-0710-995X
Yadav, Vineet0000-0002-2805-3345
Verhulst, Kristal0000-0001-5678-9678
Miller, Charles E.0000-0002-9380-4838
Duren, Riley0000-0003-4723-5280
Frankenberg, Christian0000-0002-0546-5857
Wennberg, Paul0000-0002-6126-3854
Shia, Run‐Lie0000-0003-1911-3120
Yung, Yuk L.0000-0002-4263-2562
Sander, Stanley P.0000-0003-1424-3620
Additional Information:© 2019 American Geophysical Union. Received 19 APR 2019; Accepted 10 JUL 2019; Accepted article online 15 JUL 2019. This research was supported by NIST, CARB, and NASA. We gratefully acknowledge discussions with M. Fischer, G. Heath, J. Hedelius, M. Weitz, and V. Camobreco. L.H. thanks the Resnick Sustainability Institute at Caltech for fellowship support. We thank A. Andrews and E. Dlugokencky for providing the NOAA flask measurements at Mt. Wilson Observatory (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2019). CLARS‐FTS data are available from the NASA Megacities Project ( The research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. L. H., Z. C. Z., T. P., C. W., and S. S. carried out the data acquisition and analysis, J. L. and K. G. provided the Hestia inventory, S. S., L. H., and Z. C. Z. wrote the paper, and all authors contributed to the analysis and discussion of the results. The authors declare no competing financial interests.
Group:Resnick Sustainability Institute, Astronomy Department
Funding AgencyGrant Number
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)UNSPECIFIED
California Air Resources BoardUNSPECIFIED
Resnick Sustainability InstituteUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:methane emissions; greenhouse gas; urban pollution; natural gas leakage
Issue or Number:14
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190716-102712163
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:He, L., Zeng, Z.‐C., Pongetti, T., Wong, C., Liang, J., Gurney, K. R., et al. (2019). Atmospheric methane emissions correlate with natural gas consumption from residential and commercial sectors in Los Angeles. Geophysical Research Letters, 46, 8563–8571.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:97168
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:16 Jul 2019 17:41
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 17:27

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