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Methane emissions from natural gas infrastructure and use in the urban region...

McKain, K., A. Down, S. M. Raciti, J. Budney, L. R. Hutyra, C. Floerchinger, S. C. Herndon, T. Nehrkorn, M. S. Zahniser, R. B. Jackson, N. Phillips, and S. C. Wofsy (2015), Methane emissions from natural gas infrastructure and use in the urban region of Boston, Massachusetts, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 112, 1941-1946, doi:10.1073/pnas.1416261112.

Methane emissions from natural gas delivery and end use must be quantified to evaluate the environmental impacts of natural gas and to develop and assess the efficacy of emission reduction strategies. We report natural gas emission rates for 1 y in the urban region of Boston, using a comprehensive atmospheric measurement and modeling framework. Continuous methane observations from four stations are combined with a high-resolution transport model to quantify the regional average emission flux, 18.5 ± 3.7 (95% approaches, consistently found that CH4 emission rates were larger than those estimated by regional bottom-up inventories (8–12). In Boston, elevated CH4 concentrations have been observed at street level and attributed to >3,000 NG pipeline leaks from antiquated infrastructure (13), but associated CH4 emission rates were not quantitatively assessed.

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Research Program: 
Carbon Cycle & Ecosystems Program (CCEP)