How has the Covid-19 pandemic response impacted methane emissions in California?

Tuesday, 8 December 2020: 07:45
Eric A Kort1, Andrew K Thorpe2, Riley M Duren3, Daniel Cusworth4, Charles E Miller2, Robert O Green2, Michael L Eastwood5, Brian D Bue2, Winston Olson-Duvall2 and John Chapman6, (1)University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering, Ann Arbor, MI, United States, (2)Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, United States, (3)University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, United States, (4)NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States, (5)Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States, (6)Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, United States
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a sudden and drastic impact on human activities. For methane, this has the potential to alter dominant anthropogenic sources. For the oil and gas sector, changes in the price of oil, reduced maintenance, reduced environmental reporting, and increasing numbers of bankruptcies and abandoned wells all have the potential to either increase or decrease methane emissions. Changes in the food and waste supply chain also have the potential to perturb emissions from the agricultural and waste sectors. These abrupt changes to human behavior provide a unique opportunity to observe and understand how changes in human actions can change anthropogenic methane emissions. Prior to Covid-19, extensive airborne mapping of methane emissions with an imaging spectrometer covered much of California providing a unique baseline dataset of emissions magnitudes and distributions (including the ‘heavy-tail’) of point sources across sectors (California Methane Survey, Duren et al., 2019). In summer 2020, we resampled much of the baseline survey region, enabling robust evaluation of any changes in emissions magnitudes or distributions. In this talk we will discuss the potential stressors and changes to methane emissions, and discuss changes (or lack of changes) evident in this unique dataset.