Facility-scale inventory of dairy methane emissions in California: implications for mitigation

Marklein, Alison R.; Meyer, Deanne; Fischer, Marc L.; Jeong, Seongeun; Rafiq, Talha; Carr, Michelle; Hopkins, Francesca M.

Dairies emit roughly half of total methane (inline-formulaCH4) emissions in California, generating inline-formulaCH4 from both enteric fermentation by ruminant gut microbes and anaerobic decomposition of manure. Representation of these emission processes is essential for management and mitigation of inline-formulaCH4 emissions and is typically done using standardized emission factors applied at large spatial scales (e.g., state level). However, inline-formulaCH4-emitting activities and management decisions vary across facilities, and current inventories do not have sufficiently high spatial resolution to capture changes at this scale. Here, we develop a spatially explicit database of dairies in California, with information from operating permits and California-specific reports detailing herd demographics and manure management at the facility scale. We calculated manure management and enteric fermentation inline-formulaCH4 emissions using two previously published bottom-up approaches and a new farm-specific calculation developed in this work. We also estimate the effect of mitigation strategies – the use of mechanical separators and installation of anaerobic digesters – on inline-formulaCH4 emissions. We predict that implementation of digesters at the 106 dairies that are existing or planned in California will reduce manure inline-formulaCH4 emissions from those facilities by an average of 26 % and total state inline-formulaCH4 emissions by 5 % (or inline-formula∼36.5 Gg inline-formulaCH4/yr). In addition to serving as a planning tool for mitigation, this database is useful as a prior for atmospheric observation-based emissions estimates, attribution of emissions to a specific facility, and validation of inline-formulaCH4 emissions reductions from management changes. Raster files of the datasets and associated metadata are available from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Distributed Active Archive Center for Biogeochemical Dynamics (ORNL DAAC; Marklein and Hopkins, 2020; https://doi.org/10.3334/ORNLDAAC/1814https://doi.org/10.3334/ORNLDAAC/1814).

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Marklein, Alison R. / Meyer, Deanne / Fischer, Marc L. / et al: Facility-scale inventory of dairy methane emissions in California: implications for mitigation. 2021. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: Alison R. Marklein et al.

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