Bayesian spatiotemporal inference of trace gas emissions using an integrated nested Laplacian approximation and Gaussian Markov random fields

Luke M Western, Zhe Sha, Matthew Rigby, Anita Ganesan, Alistair J Manning, Kieran M Stanley, Simon O'Doherty, T D S Young, Jonty Rougier

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We present a method to infer spatially and spatiotemporally correlated emissions of greenhouse gases from atmospheric measurements and a chemical transport model. The method allows fast computation of spatial emissions using a hierarchical Bayesian framework as an alternative to Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithms. The spatial emissions follow a Gaussian process with a Matérn correlation structure which can be represented by a Gaussian Markov random field through a stochastic partial differential equation approach. The inference is based on an integrated nested Laplacian approximation (INLA) for hierarchical models with Gaussian latent fields. Combining an autoregressive temporal correlation and the Matérn field provides a full spatiotemporal correlation structure. We first demonstrate the method on a synthetic data example and follow this using a well-studied test case of inferring UK methane emissions from tall tower measurements of atmospheric mole fraction. Results from these two test cases show that this method can accurately estimate regional greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for spatiotemporal uncertainties that have traditionally been neglected in atmospheric inverse modelling.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2095–2107
Number of pages13
JournalGeoscientific Model Development
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2020


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