Full Title: Updating Estimates of Methane Emissions: The Case of China
Author(s): Zichong Chen and Daniel Jacob
Publisher(s): Harvard Kennedy School, Belford Center for Science and International Affairs
Publication Date: May 14, 2023
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Atmospheric scientists at Harvard University, led by Professor Daniel Jacob and, in the case of the paper summarized here, postdoctoral fellow Zichong Chen, use high-resolution data from the TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI), onboard a satellite launched in 2017, to estimate national and sectoral methane emissions more accurately than has been possible in the past. They draw upon atmospheric transport models to invert the satellite observations of methane concentrations, using
advanced statistical methods, and infer emissions quantities and locations from the observed atmospheric concentrations. This method has yielded generally higher estimates of emissions than in previous reports, including in the case of China. In this study, satellite observations were combined with data from a 2014 report from the Chinese government to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) to develop “top-down” estimates of sectoral emissions.