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Waste Manag. 2003;23(7):593-8.

The influence of atmospheric pressure on landfill methane emissions.

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Complex Systems Research Center, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, USA.


Landfills are the largest source of anthropogenic methane (CH4) emissions to the atmosphere in the United States. However, few measurements of whole landfill CH4 emissions have been reported. Here, we present the results of a multi-season study of whole landfill CH4 emissions using atmospheric tracer methods at the Nashua, New Hampshire Municipal landfill in the northeastern United States. The measurement data include 12 individual emission tests, each test consisting of 5-8 plume measurements. Measured emissions were negatively correlated with surface atmospheric pressure and ranged from 7.3 to 26.5 m3 CH4 min(-1). A simple regression model of our results was used to calculate an annual emission rate of 8.4 x 10(6) m3 CH4 year(-1). These data, along with CH4 oxidation estimates based on emitted landfill gas isotopic characteristics and gas collection data, were used to estimate annual CH4 generation at this landfill. A reported gas collection rate of 7.1 x 10(6) m3 CH4 year(-1) and an estimated annual rate of CH4 oxidation by cover soils of 1.2 x 10(6) m3 CH4 year(-1) resulted in a calculated annual CH4 generation rate of 16.7 x 10(6) m3 CH4 year(-1). These results underscore the necessity of understanding a landfill's dynamic environment before assessing long-term emissions potential.

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