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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 12 Nov 2018

Research article | 12 Nov 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).

Using the tracer flux ratio method with flight measurements to estimate dairy farm CH4 emissions in central California

Conner Daube1, Stephen Conley2,3, Ian C. Faloona3, Claudia Arndt4, Tara I. Yacovitch1, Joseph R. Roscioli1, and Scott C. Herndon1 Conner Daube et al.
  • 1Aerodyne Research, Inc., Billerica, MA, 01821, USA
  • 2Scientific Aviation, Inc., Boulder, CO, 80301, USA
  • 3Department of Land, Air, and Water Resources, University of California, Davis, CA, 95616, USA
  • 4Environmental Defense Fund, San Francisco, CA, 94105, USA

Abstract. Tracer flux ratio methodology was applied to airborne measurements to quantify methane (CH4) emissions from two dairy farms in central California during the summer. An aircraft flew around the perimeter of each farm measuring downwind enhancements of CH4 and a tracer species released from the ground at a known rate. Estimates of CH4 emission rates from this analysis were determined for whole sites and sub-sources (animal housing, liquid manure lagoons). Whole-site CH4 flux rates for each farm, Dairy 1 (5,850 ± 793 kg CH4 day−1, 95 % confidence interval) and Dairy 2 (3,699 ± 685 kg CH4 day−1, 95 % confidence interval), closely resembled findings by established methods: ground-based tracer flux ratio and mass balance. Sub-source emission rates indicate a greater fraction of the whole-site emissions come from liquid manure management than animal housing activity, similar to bottom-up estimates. Despite differences in altitude, we observed that the tracer release method gave consistent results when using ground or air platforms. With no consideration of this analysis methodology during the experimental design, two groups were able to perform three methods quantifying CH4 emitted from these dairy farms over a few summer days.

Conner Daube et al.
Interactive discussion
Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Conner Daube et al.
Conner Daube et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
This study describes aircraft measurements of methane from dairy farms in central California. A small deliberate release of a tracer gas is done on the ground and measured from the air and the ratio of methane to tracer used to quantify emissions. Farm-scale methane emissions are determined as well as the fraction of those emissions coming from animal activity versus liquid manure management. These findings were within the uncertainty of two established methods.
This study describes aircraft measurements of methane from dairy farms in central California. A...