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Influence of atmospheric stability and transport on CH4 concentrations in northern Spain
Año del Documento
Science of the Total Environment 550 2016 157–166
Continuous methane (CH4) concentrations were measured in Northern Spain over two years (2011–2012) by multi-point sampling at 1.8, 3.7 and 8.3 m using a Picarro analyser. The technique is based on cavity ringdown spectroscopy. The contrast in mean concentrations was about 1.2 ppb, with 95th percentiles differing by 2.2 ppb and mean minimum concentrations proving similar. Temporal variations of CH4 were also analysed, with a similar seasonal variability being found for the three heights. The highest CH4 concentrationswere obtained in late autumn andwinter and the lowest in summer, yielding a range of 52 ppb. This variationmay depend on the active photochemical reaction with OH radical during a period of intense solar radiation and changes in soil conditions together with variations in emissions. Peak concentration levels were recorded at night-time, between 5:00–7:00 GMT, with mean values ranging between 1920 and 1923 ppb. The lowest value, around 1884 ppb, was obtained at 16:00 GMT. This diurnal variation was mainly related to vertical mixing and photochemistry. Therefore, CH4 concentrations were also examined using the bulk Richardson number (RB) as a stability indicator. Four groupswere distinguished: unstable cases, situations with pure shear flow, transitional stages and drainage flows. The highest contrast in mean CH4 concentrations between lower and upper heights was obtained for the transition and drainage cases, mainly associated to high concentrations from nearby sources. The impact of long range transport was analysed by means of 3-day isobaric backward air mass trajectories, which were calculated taking into account origins from Europe, Africa, the Atlantic Ocean and Local conditions. Assessment of the results showed the influence of S and SE wind sectors, especially with Local conditions associated with low winds. Finally, an estimation of the background CH4 concentration in the study period provided an average value of about 1892 ppb.
Revisión por pares
Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (projects CGL2009-11979 and CGL2014-53948-P.)
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