Document Type

Article

Publication Date

8-31-2017

Publication Title

Earth System Science Data

ISSN

1866-3516

Volume

9

Issue

2

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.5194/essd-9-639-2017

Abstract

The concentration of atmospheric methane (CH4) has more than doubled over the industrial era. To help constrain global and regional CH4 budgets, inverse (top-down) models incorporate data on the concentration and stable carbon (delta C-13) and hydrogen (delta H-2) isotopic ratios of atmospheric CH4. These models depend on accurate delta C-13 and delta H-2 end-member source signatures for each of the main emissions categories. Compared with meticulous measurement and calibration of isotopic CH4 in the atmosphere, there has been relatively less effort to characterize globally representative isotopic source signatures, particularly for fossil fuel sources. Most global CH4 budget models have so far relied on outdated source signature values derived from globally nonrepresentative data. To correct this deficiency, we present a comprehensive, globally representative end-member database of the delta C-13 and delta H-2 of CH4 from fossil fuel (conventional natural gas, shale gas, and coal), modern microbial (wetlands, rice paddies, ruminants, termites, and landfills and/or waste) and biomass burning sources. Gas molecular compositional data for fossil fuel categories are also included with the database. The database comprises 10 706 samples (8734 fossil fuel, 1972 non-fossil) from 190 published references. Mean (unweighted) delta C-13 signatures for fossil fuel CH4 are significantly lighter than values commonly used in CH4 budget models, thus highlighting potential underestimation of fossil fuel CH4 emissions in previous CH4 budget models. This living database will be updated every 2-3 years to provide the atmospheric modeling community with the most complete CH4 source signature data possible.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

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