EGU21-10156, updated on 24 Sep 2021
EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Greenhouse gas column observations from a portable spectrometer in Uganda

Neil Humpage1, Hartmut Boesch1,2, William Okello3, Florian Dietrich4, Jia Chen4, Mark Lunt5, Liang Feng5,6, Paul Palmer5,6, and Frank Hase7
Neil Humpage et al.
  • 1University of Leicester, Earth Observation Science, Physics and Astronomy, United Kingdom of Great Britain – England, Scotland, Wales (
  • 2National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO), University of Leicester, Leicester, UK
  • 3National Fisheries Resources Research Institute (NaFIRRI), Jinja, Uganda
  • 4Environmental Sensing and Modelling, Technical University of Munich, Munich, Germany
  • 5School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  • 6National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO), University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  • 7Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research (IMK-ASF), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe, Germany

The natural ecosystems of tropical Africa represent a significant store of carbon, and play an important but uncertain role in the atmospheric budgets of carbon dioxide and methane. Recent studies using satellite data have concluded that methane emissions from this geographical region have increased since 2010 as a result of increased wetland extent, accounting for a third of global methane growth (Lunt et al 2019), and that the tropical Africa region dominates net carbon emission across the tropics (Palmer et al 2019). The conclusions of such studies are based on the accuracy of various satellite datasets and atmospheric transport models, over a geographical region where there are few independent observations available to check the robustness and validity of these datasets.

Here we present the first ground-based observations of greenhouse gas (GHG) column concentrations over tropical East Africa, obtained using the University of Leicester EM27/SUN spectrometer during its deployment at the National Fisheries Resources Research Institute (NaFIRRI) in Jinja, Uganda. During the deployment we were able to operate the instrument remotely, using an automated weatherproof enclosure designed by the Technical University of Munich (Heinle and Chen 2018, Dietrich et al 2020). The instrument ran near-continuously for a three month period in early 2020, observing total atmospheric column concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane, along with other gases of interest including water vapour and carbon monoxide. We describe the data obtained during this period, processed using tools developed under the COCCON project (COllaborative Carbon Column Observing Network, Frey et al 2019), and demonstrate the value of performing GHG column measurements over tropical East Africa. We then evaluate the performance of CO2 observations from OCO-2 and CH4 from Sentinel 5P TROPOMI - datasets previously used in the studies of Palmer et al 2019 and Lunt et al 2019 respectively - and interpret the comparison with the ground-based observations in the light of data from the GEOS-Chem atmospheric chemistry transport model and the CAMS (Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service) reanalyses.

REFERENCES: Lunt, M. F., Palmer, P. I., Feng, L., Taylor, C. M., Boesch, H., and Parker, R. J.: An increase in methane emissions from tropical Africa between 2010 and 2016 inferred from satellite data, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 19, 14721–14740,, 2019.

Palmer, P.I., Feng, L., Baker, D., Chevallier, F., Boesch, H., and Somkuti, P.: Net carbon emissions from African biosphere dominate pan-tropical atmospheric CO2 signal. Nat Commun 10, 3344,, 2019.

Heinle, L. and Chen, J.: Automated enclosure and protection system for compact solar-tracking spectrometers, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 11, 2173–2185,, 2018.

Dietrich, F., Chen, J., Voggenreiter, B., Aigner, P., Nachtigall, N., and Reger, B.: Munich permanent urban greenhouse gas column observing network, Atmos. Meas. Tech. Discussions, 2020, 1–24,, 2020.

Frey, M. et al.: Building the COllaborative Carbon Column Observing Network (COCCON): long-term stabilityand ensemble performance of the EM27/SUN Fourier transform spectrometer, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 12, 1513–1530,, 2019

How to cite: Humpage, N., Boesch, H., Okello, W., Dietrich, F., Chen, J., Lunt, M., Feng, L., Palmer, P., and Hase, F.: Greenhouse gas column observations from a portable spectrometer in Uganda, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-10156,, 2021.

Display materials

Display file

Comments on the display material

to access the discussion