EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

COVID-19 impacts on California methane point source emissions

Andrew Thorpe1, Eric Kort2, Riley Duren3,4,1, Daniel Cusworth3,4, Jorn Herner5, Matthias Falk5, Brian Bue1, Vineet Yadav1, David Thompson1, Robert Green1, Charles Miller1, and Christian Frankenberg6
Andrew Thorpe et al.
  • 1Jet Propulstion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, United States of America (
  • 2University of Michigan, United States of America
  • 3Carbon Mapper, United States of America
  • 4University of Arizona, United States of America
  • 5California Air Resources Board, United States of America
  • 6California Institute of Technology, United States of America

In the summer of 2020, the AVIRIS-NG airborne imaging spectrometer surveyed California’s Southern San Joaquin Valley and the South Bay (Los Angeles County) to identify anthropogenic methane point source plumes, estimate emission rates, and attribute sources to both facilities and emission sectors. These flights were designed to revisit regions previously surveyed by the 2016-2017 California Methane Survey (Duren et al., 2019) and to assess the impact of COVID-19 on emissions across multiple sectors. For the region flown by both the California Methane Survey (summer, fall 2016-2017) and the California COVID campaigns (summer, fall 2020), total emissions from point sources from the IPCC sectors for Energy Industries and Oil & Natural Gas were 34% lower during the 2020 flights. However, emission trends varied across different sectors. For the Energy Industries sector, there was a 19% decrease driven by reductions in refinery emissions consistent with a drop in production during 2020, which was offset in part with increases from powerplants. For the Oil & Natural Gas sector, emissions declined 35% and significant variability was observed at the oilfield scale. Emissions declined for all but the Buena Vista and Cymric oilfields with an observed relationship between production and emissions. These results indicate that imaging spectrometer surveys can characterize changes in anthropogenic emission profiles over time, including those associated with disruptive events like COVID-19.

How to cite: Thorpe, A., Kort, E., Duren, R., Cusworth, D., Herner, J., Falk, M., Bue, B., Yadav, V., Thompson, D., Green, R., Miller, C., and Frankenberg, C.: COVID-19 impacts on California methane point source emissions, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-10510,, 2022.