Global methane data from 2002 to present derived from satellite observations

Buchwitz, Michael; Reuter, Maximilian; Schneising-Weigel, Oliver; Aben, Ilse; Wu, Lianghai; Hasekamp, Otto P.; Boesch, Hartmut; Di Noia, Antonio; Crevoisier, Cyril; Armante, Raymond;

This dataset provides observations of atmospheric methane (CH4) amounts obtained from observations collected by several current and historical satellite instruments. Methane is a naturally occurring Greenhouse Gas (GHG), but one whose abundance has been increased substantially above its pre-industrial value of some 720 ppb by human activities, primarily because of agricultural emissions (e.g., rice production, ruminants) and fossil fuel production and use. A clear annual cycle is largely due to seasonal wetland emissions.

Atmospheric methane abundance is indirectly observed by various satellite instruments. These instruments measure spectrally resolved near-infrared and infrared radiation reflected or emitted by the Earth and its atmosphere. In the measured signal, molecular absorption signatures from methane and constituent gasses can be identified. It is through analysis of those absorption lines in these radiance observations that the averaged methane abundance in the sampled atmospheric column can be determined.

The software used to analyse the absorption lines and determine the methane concentration in the sampled atmospheric column is referred to as the retrieval algorithm. For this dataset, methane abundances have been determined by applying several algorithms to different satellite instruments. The data set consists of 2 types of products: (i) column-averaged mixing ratios of CH4, denoted XCH4 and (ii) mid-tropospheric CH4 columns.

The XCH4 products have been retrieved from SCIAMACHY/ENVISAT and TANSO-FTS/GOSAT. The mid-tropospheric CH4 product has been retrieved from the IASI instruments onboard the Metop satellite series. The XCH4 products are available as Level 2 (L2) products (satellite orbit tracks) and as Level 3 (L3) product (gridded). The L2 products are available as individual sensor products (SCIAMACHY: WFMD and IMAP algorithms; GOSAT: OCFP, OCPR, SRFP and SRPR algorithms) and as a multi-sensor merged product (EMMA algorithm). The L3 XCH4 product is provided in OBS4MIPS format. The IASI products are available as L2 products generated with the NLIS algorithm. This data set is updated on a yearly basis, with each update cycle adding (if required) a new data version for the entire period, up to one year behind real time.

This dataset is produced on behalf of C3S with the exception of the SCIAMACHY L2 products that were generated in the framework of the GHG-CCI project of the European Space Agency (ESA) Climate Change Initiative (CCI).


Buchwitz, Michael

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Additional Info

Field Value
Identifier DOI:10.24381/cds.b25419f8
Project(s) GHG-CC, C3S
Institute Institute of Environmental Physics (IUP), University of Bremen (IUP-UB)
Publication Date 2018-06-14
Version 5.0
Product L2 + L3 XCH4, L2 IASI
  1. see product user guide
Variables [Units]
  1. see product user guide
Region Global
Spatial Reference
Spatial Resolution various
Spatial Coverage Latitude -90.00 to 90.00, Longitude -180.00 to 180.00
Temporal Coverage 2002 to 2020
Temporal Resolution
Format NetCDF
Is Supplement To
Related to

Buchwitz, M.; Reuter, M.; Aben, I.; Boesch, H.; Butz, A.; Detmers, R.G.; Frankenberg, C.; Hasekamp, O.P.; Parker, R.; Schneising, O.; Somkuti, P. (2016): ESA Greenhouse Gases Climate Change Initiative (GHG_cci): Merged SCIAMACHY and GOSAT Level 3 gridded atmospheric column-average methane (XCH4) product in Obs4MIPs format. Centre for Environmental Data Analysis, 10 October 2016. doi:10.5285/C965E4AC-D2AF-4BAA-9E99-A234E9BA0193.

Reuter, M., Buchwitz, M., Schneising, O., Noel, S., Bovensmann, H., Burrows, J. P., Boesch, H., Di Noia, A., Anand, J., Parker, R. J., Somkuti, P., Wu, L., Hasekamp, O. P., Aben, I., Kuze, A., Suto, H., Shiomi, K., Yoshida, Y., Morino, I., Crisp, D., O'Dell, C. W., Notholt, J., Petri, C., Warneke, T., Velazco, V. A., Deutscher, N. M., Griffith, D. W. T., Kivi, R., Pollard, D. F., Hase, F., Sussmann, R., Te, Y. V., Strong, K., Roche, S., Sha, M. K., De Maziere, M., Feist, D. G., Iraci, L. T., Roehl, C. M., Retscher, C., and Schepers, D.: Ensemble-based satellite-derived carbon dioxide and methane column-averaged dry-air mole fraction data sets (2003-2018) for carbon and climate applications, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 13, 789-819,, 2020.

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