Enhanced methane emissions during Amazonian drought by biomass burning


South America
Objective 4


The Amazon is a significant source of atmospheric methane, but little is known about the source response to increasing drought severity and frequency. We investigated satellite observations of atmospheric column-averaged methane for the 2010 drought and subsequent 2011 wet year in the Amazon using an atmospheric inversion scheme. Our analysis indicates an increase in atmospheric methane over the southern Amazon region during the drought, representing an increase in annual emissions relative to the wet year. We attribute the increase to emissions from biomass burning driven by intense drought, combined with carbon monoxide showing seasonal variations corresponding to methane variations. We show that there is probably a strong correspondence between drought and methane emissions in the Amazon.