Daily Satellite Observations of Methane from Oil and Gas Production Regions in the United States

Joost A. de Gouw*, J. Pepijn Veefkind, Esther Roosenbrand, Barbara Dix, John C. Lin, Jochen Landgraf, Pieternel F. Levelt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)
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Production of oil and natural gas in North America is at an all-time high due to the development and use of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Methane emissions associated with this industrial activity are a concern because of the contribution to climate radiative forcing. We present new measurements from the space-based TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) launched in 2017 that show methane enhancements over production regions in the United States. In the Uintah Basin in Utah, TROPOMI methane columns correlated with in-situ measurements, and the highest columns were observed over the deepest parts of the basin, consistent with the accumulation of emissions underneath inversions. In the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico, methane columns showed maxima over regions with the highest natural gas production and were correlated with nitrogen-dioxide columns at a ratio that is consistent with results from in-situ airborne measurements. The improved detail provided by TROPOMI will likely enable the timely monitoring from space of methane emissions associated with oil and natural gas production.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1379
Number of pages10
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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