Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2022-272
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2022-272
 
10 Oct 2022
10 Oct 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

Intercomparison of commercial analyzers for atmospheric ethane and methane observations

Roisin Commane1,2, Andrew Hallward-Driemeier2, and Lee T. Murray3,4 Roisin Commane et al.
  • 1Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027, USA
  • 2Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, NY 10964, USA
  • 3Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627, USA
  • 4Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627, USA

Abstract. Methane (CH4) is a strong greenhouse gas that has become the focus of climate mitigation policies in recent years. Ethane / methane ratios can be used to identify and partition the difference sources of methane, especially in areas with natural gas mixed with biogenic methane emissions, such as cities. We assessed the precision, accuracy and selectivity of three commercially available laser-based analyzers that have been marketed as measuring instantaneous dry mole fractions of methane and ethane in ambient air. The Aerodyne SuperDUAL instrument performed best of the three instruments but it requires expertise to operate and space for the large footprint. The Aeris Mira Ultra LDS analyzer also performed well for the price point and small footprint but required characterization of the water vapor dependence of reported concentrations and careful setup for use. The Picarro G2210-i precisely measured methane but it did not detect the 10 ppbv increases in ambient ethane detected by the other two instruments when sampling a plume of incompletely combusted natural gas. For long-term tower deployments or those with large mobile laboratories, the Aerodyne SuperDUAL provides the best precision for methane and ethane. For smaller mobile platforms, the Aeris MIRA is a more compact analyzer, and with careful use, can quantify thermogenic methane sources to sufficient precision for short term deployments in urban or oil and gas areas. We weighed the advantages of each instrument, including size, power requirement, ease of use on mobile platforms, and expertise needed to operate the instrument, and we recommend the Aerodyne SuperDUAL or the Aeris MIRA Ultra LDS depending on the situation.

Roisin Commane et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on amt-2022-272', Anonymous Referee #1, 02 Nov 2022
  • CC1: 'Comment on amt-2022-272', Manuele Polli, 04 Nov 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on amt-2022-272', Anonymous Referee #2, 07 Nov 2022

Roisin Commane et al.

Roisin Commane et al.

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Short summary
Methane / ethane ratios can be used to identify and partition the difference sources of methane, especially in areas with natural gas mixed with biogenic methane emissions, such as cities. We tested three commercially available laser-based analyzers for sensitivity, precision, size, power requirement, ease of use on mobile platforms, and expertise needed to operate the instrument and make recommendations for use in various situations.