New National Academy of Sciences Report ' Anthropogenic Methane Emissions'

April 11, 2018


On March 27, the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Math (NASEM) released a new report, Anthropogenic Methane Emissions in the United States. Sponsored largely by NOAA OAR / Climate Program Office in partnership with DOE, EPA, and NASA, the report examines current approaches to measuring, monitoring, reporting, and developing inventories of human emissions of methane to the atmosphere. Sponsors include members of the Carbon Cycle Interagency Working Group (CCIWG) and USGCRP agencies.

The report is available here.

'A major focus of this report is to examine the range of inventories and the approaches for developing those inventories, as well as the associated data requirements. The goal is to help federal agencies develop inventories with wider applications and improved accuracy and verifiability. Currently, the U.S. national inventory (GHGI) of methane emissions cannot be independently verified, as both spatial and temporal attributes are missing and thus expected atmospheric concentrations cannot be inferred. There are many benefits of building a strong link between atmospheric measurements of methane concentrations and methane emission inventories, including the discovery of missing sources or processes, improved confidence in the basic data that enter into decisions by companies and governments, and enhanced capability to detect trends with time. Other important elements of the charge, such as research to address key uncertainties, enhanced observing networks, and remote sensing techniques are also considered....The report summarize the current state of understanding of methane emissions sources and the measurement approaches, evaluate opportunities for methodological and inventory development improvements, and to inform future research agendas of various U.S. agencies, including NOAA, the EPA, the DOE, NASA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the National Science Foundation (NSF). Finally, the Committee believes that the recommendations in this report will enable the methane part of the U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory to truly be transparent, consistent, comparable, complete, accurate, and widely applicable to science needs and policy applications.' (NASEM, 2018)

Examples of methane measurement platforms operating across a variety of spatial
and temporal scales (NASEM, 2018)

Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM). 2018. Improving Characterization of Anthropogenic Methane Emissions in the United States. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: