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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 03 Jul 2019

Research article | 03 Jul 2019

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).

Towards verifying CH4 emissions from hard coal mines using mobile sun-viewing Fourier transform spectrometry

Andreas Luther1, Ralph Kleinschek7, Leon Scheidweiler7, Sara Defratyka6, Mila Stanisavljevic4, Andreas Forstmaier3, Alexandru Dandocsi5, Sebastian Wolff1, Darko Dubravica2, Norman Wildmann1, Julian Kostinek1, Patrick Jöckel1, Anna-Leah Nickl1, Theresa Klausner1, Frank Hase2, Matthias Frey2, Jia Chen3, Florian Dietrich3, Jarosław Nęcki4, Justyna Swolkień4, Andreas Fix1, Anke Roiger1, and André Butz7 Andreas Luther et al.
  • 1Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre, Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany
  • 2Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research (IMK-ASF), Karlsruhe, Germany
  • 3Environmental Sensing and Modeling (ESM), Technische Universität München (TUM), Germany
  • 4AGH, University of Science and Technology, Kraków, Poland
  • 5National Institute of Research and Development for Optoelectronics (INOE2000), Mǎgurele, Romania
  • 6Laboratoire des sciences du climat et de l'environnement (LSCE-IPSL) CEA-CNRS-UVSQ Université Paris Saclay, Gif-sur-Yvette, France
  • 7Institut für Umweltphysik, University of Heidelberg, Germany

Abstract. Methane (CH4) emissions from coal production are one of the primary sources of anthropogenic CH4 in the atmosphere. Poland is the largest hard coal producer in the European Union with the Polish side of the Upper Silesian Coal Basin (USCB) as the main part of it. Emission estimates for CH4 from the USCB for individual coal mine ventilation shafts range between 0.03 kt/a and 20 kt/a, amounting to a basin total of roughly 440 kt/a according to the European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (E-PRTR,, 2014). We mounted a ground-based, portable, sun-viewing FTS (Fourier Transform Spectrometer) on a truck for sampling coal mine ventilation plumes by driving cross-sectional stop-and-go Patterns at 1 to 3 km distance to the exhaust shafts. Using a mass balance approach, several of these transects allowed for estimating CH4 emissions based on the observed enhancements of the column-averaged dry-air mole fractions of methane (XCH4). Our resulting emission estimates range from 6 ± 1 kt/a for a single shaft up to 109 ± 33 kt/a for a subregion of the USCB, which is in broad agreement with the E-PRTR reports. Three wind lidars were deployed in the larger USCB region providing ancillary information about spatial and temporal variability of wind and turbulence in the atmospheric boundary-layer. Sensitivity studies show that, despite drawing from the three wind lidars, the uncertainty of the local wind dominates the uncertainty of the emission estimates, by far exceeding errors related to the XCH4 measurements itself. Wind-related relative errors on the emission estimates typically amount to 20 %.

Andreas Luther et al.
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Andreas Luther et al.
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Short summary
Methane ventilated from hard coal mines in the Upper Silesian coal basin in Poland is measured with a mobile Fourier transform spectrometer EM27/SUN. The Instrument was mounted on a truck driving stop-and-go patterns downwind of the methane sources. The emissions are estimated with the cross-sectional flux method. Calculated emissions are in broad agreeement with the E-PRTR database. Wind-related errors on the methane estimates dominate the error budget and typically amount to 20 %.
Methane ventilated from hard coal mines in the Upper Silesian coal basin in Poland is measured...