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Isotopic signatures of methane emissions from dairy farms in California's San Joaquin Valley

Citation

Carranza, Valerie et al. (2022), Isotopic signatures of methane emissions from dairy farms in California's San Joaquin Valley, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.6086/D1W10G

Abstract

In this study, we present seasonal atmospheric measurements of δ13CCH4 from dairy farms in the San Joaquin Valley of California. We used δ13CCH4 to characterize emissions from enteric fermentation by measuring downwind of cattle housing (e.g., freestall barns, corrals) and from manure management areas (e.g., anaerobic manure lagoons) with a mobile platform equipped with cavity ring-down spectrometers. Across seasons, the δ13CCH4 from enteric fermentation source areas ranged from -69.7 ± 0.6 per mil (‰) to -51.6 ± 0.1‰ while the δ13CCH4 from manure lagoons ranged from -49.5 ± 0.1‰ to -40.5 ± 0.2‰. Measurements of δ13CCH4 of enteric CH4 suggest a greater than 10‰ difference between cattle production groups in accordance with diet. Isotopic signatures of CH4 were used to characterize enteric and manure CH4 from downwind plume sampling of dairies. Our findings show that δ13CCH4 measurements could improve the attribution of CH4 emissions from dairy sources at scales ranging from individual facilities to regions and help constrain the relative contributions from these different sources of emissions to the CH4 budget.

Funding

University of California, Office of the President, Laboratory Fee Research Program, Award: LFR-18-548581

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program

University of California, Riverside Environmental Dynamics and GeoEcology (EDGE) Institute

Contractor Support Research, Award: DE-AC02-05CH11231