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Title: Temporary pause in the growth of atmospheric ethane and propane in 2015–2018
Abstract. Atmospheric non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHCs) play an important role in theformation of secondary organic aerosols and ozone. After a multidecadalglobal decline in atmospheric mole fractions of ethane and propane – themost abundant atmospheric NMHCs – previous work has shown a reversal ofthis trend with increasing atmospheric abundances from 2009 to 2015 in theNorthern Hemisphere. These concentration increases were attributed to theunprecedented growth in oil and natural gas (O&NG) production in NorthAmerica. Here, we supplement this trend analysis building on the long-term(2008–2010; 2012–2020) high-resolution (∼3 h) record ofambient air C2–C7 NMHCs from in situ measurements at the GreenlandEnvironmental Observatory at Summit station (GEOSummit, 72.58 ∘ N,38.48 ∘ W; 3210 m above sea level). We confirm previous findingsthat the ethane mole fraction significantly increased by +69.0 [+47.4,+73.2; 95 % confidence interval] ppt yr−1 from January 2010 toDecember 2014. Subsequent measurements, however, reveal a significantdecrease by −58.4 [−64.1, −48.9] ppt yr−1 from January 2015 to December2018. A similar reversal is found for propane. The upturn observed after2019 suggests, however, that the pause in the growth of atmospheric ethaneand propane might only have been temporary. Discrete samples collected atother northern hemispheric baseline sites under the umbrella of the NOAAcooperative global air sampling network show a similar decrease in 2015–2018and suggest a hemispheric pattern. Here, we further discuss the potentialcontribution of biomass burning and O&NG emissions (the main sources ofethane and propane) and conclude that O&NG activities likely played arole in these recent changes. This study highlights the crucial need forbetter constrained emission inventories.  more » « less
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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Page Range / eLocation ID:
15153 to 15170
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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