Analysis of uncertainties in the estimates of nitrous oxide and methane emissions in the UK's greenhouse gas inventory for agriculture

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Milne, A. E., Glendining, M. J., Bellamy, P., Misselbrook, T. H., Gilhespy, S. L., Rivas Casado, M., Hulin, A., Van Oijen, M. and Whitmore, A. P. 2014. Analysis of uncertainties in the estimates of nitrous oxide and methane emissions in the UK's greenhouse gas inventory for agriculture. Atmospheric Environment. 82, pp. 94-105.

AuthorsMilne, A. E., Glendining, M. J., Bellamy, P., Misselbrook, T. H., Gilhespy, S. L., Rivas Casado, M., Hulin, A., Van Oijen, M. and Whitmore, A. P.
Abstract

The UK's greenhouse gas inventory for agriculture uses a model based on the IPCC Tier 1 and Tier 2 methods to estimate the emissions of methane and nitrous oxide from agriculture. The inventory calculations are disaggregated at country level (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland). Before now, no detailed assessment of the uncertainties in the estimates of emissions had been done. We used Monte Carlo simulation to do such an analysis. We collated information on the uncertainties of each of the model inputs. The uncertainties propagate through the model and result in uncertainties in the estimated emissions. Using a sensitivity analysis, we found that in England and Scotland the uncertainty in the emission factor for emissions from N inputs (EF1) affected uncertainty the most, but that in Wales and Northern Ireland, the emission factor for N leaching and runoff (EF5) had greater influence. We showed that if the uncertainty in any one of these emission factors is reduced by 50%, the uncertainty in emissions of nitrous oxide reduces by 10%. The uncertainty in the estimate for the emissions of methane emission factors for enteric fermentation in cows and sheep most affected the uncertainty in methane emissions. When inventories are disaggregated (as that for the UK is) correlation between separate instances of each emission factor will affect the uncertainty in emissions. As more countries move towards inventory models with disaggregation, it is important that the IPCC give firm guidance on this topic. 

Year of Publication2014
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Journal citation82, pp. 94-105
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2013.10.012
Open accessPublished as non-open access
Funder project or codeDelivering Sustainable Systems (SS) [ISPG]
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online15 Oct 2013
Publication process dates
Accepted03 Oct 2013
PublisherElsevier
Elsevier
Copyright licensePublisher copyright
ISSN1352-2310

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