Atmospheric Methane Emissions Correlate With Natural Gas Consumption From Residential and Commercial Sectors in Los Angeles

Liyin He, Zhao Cheng Zeng, Thomas J. Pongetti, Clare Wong, Jianming Liang, Kevin Gurney, Sally Newman, Vineet Yadav, Kristal Verhulst, Charles E. Miller, Riley Duren, Christian Frankenberg, Paul O. Wennberg, Run Lie Shia, Yuk L. Yung, Stanley P. Sander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


Legislation in the State of California mandates reductions in emissions of short-lived climate pollutants of 40% from 2013 levels by 2030 for CH4. Identification of the sector(s) responsible for these emissions and their temporal and spatial variability is a key step in achieving these goals. Here, we determine the emissions of CH4 in Los Angeles from 2011–2017 using a mountaintop remote sensing mapping spectrometer. We show that the pattern of CH4 emissions contains both seasonal and nonseasonal contributions. We find that the seasonal component peaks in the winter and is correlated (R2 = 0.58) with utility natural gas consumption from the residential and commercial sectors and not from the industrial and gas-fired power plant sectors. The nonseasonal component is (22.9 ± 1.4) Gg CH4/month. If the seasonal correlation is causal, about (1.4 ± 0.1)% of the commercial and residential natural gas consumption in Los Angeles is released into the atmosphere.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8563-8571
Number of pages9
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019



  • greenhouse gas
  • methane emissions
  • natural gas leakage
  • urban pollution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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