Constraints on Asian and European sources of methane from CH4-C2H6-CO correlations in Asian outflow



[1] Aircraft observations of Asian outflow from the Transport and Chemical Evolution Over the Pacific (TRACE-P) aircraft mission over the NW Pacific (March and April 2001) show large CH4 enhancements relative to background, as well as strong CH4-C2H6-CO correlations that provide signatures of regional sources. We apply a global chemical transport model simulation of the CH4-C2H6-CO system for the TRACE-P period to interpret these observations in terms of CH4 sources and to explore in particular the unique constraints from the CH4-C2H6-CO correlations. We use as a priori a global CH4 source inventory constrained with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Monitoring and Diagnostics Laboratory (CMDL) surface observations [Wang et al., 2004]. We find that the observed CH4 concentration enhancements and CH4-C2H6-CO correlations in Asian outflow in TRACE-P are determined mainly by anthropogenic emissions from China and Eurasia (defined here as Europe and eastern Russia), with only little contribution from tropical sources (wetlands and biomass burning). The a priori inventory overestimates the observed CH4 enhancements and shows regionally variable biases for the CH4/C2H6 slope. The CH4/CO slopes are simulated without significant bias. Matching both the observed CH4 enhancements and the CH4-C2H6-CO slopes in Asian outflow requires increasing the east Asian anthropogenic source of CH4, and decreasing the Eurasian anthropogenic source, by at least 30% for both. The need to increase the east Asian source is driven by the underestimate of the CH4/C2H6 slope in boundary layer Chinese outflow. The Streets et al. [2003] anthropogenic emission inventory for east Asia fits this constraint by increasing CH4 emissions from that region by 40% relative to the a priori, largely because of higher livestock and landfill source estimates. Eurasian sources (mostly European) then need to be reduced by 30–50% from the a priori value of 68 Tg yr−1. The decrease of European sources could result in part from recent mitigation of emissions from coal mining and landfills.