[en] We report average tropospheric CH4 volume mixing ratios retrieved from a 27 year time series of high spectral resolution infrared solar absorption measurements recorded between May 1977 and July 2004 at the US National Solar Observatory station on Kitt Peak (31.9 degrees N, 111.6 degrees W, 2.09 km altitude) and their comparison with surface in situ sampling measurements recorded between 1983 and 2004 at the Climate Monitoring and Diagnostics Laboratory (CMDL) station at Niwot Ridge, Colorado (40.0 degrees N, 105.5 degrees W, 3013 m altitude). The two measurement sets therefore overlap for the 1983-2004 time period. An average tropospheric volume mixing ratios of 1814 +/- 48 ppbv (1 ppbv = 10(-9) per unit volume) has been derived from the solar absorption time series with a best-fit increase rate trend equal to 8.26 +/- 2.20 ppbv yr(-1) in 1983 decreasing to 1.94 +/- 3.69 ppbv yr(-1) in 2003. The CMDL measurements also show a continuous long-term CH4 volume mixing ratio rise, with subsequent slowing down. A mean ratio of the retrieved average tropospheric volume mixing ratio to the CMDL volume mixing ratio for the overlapping time period of 1.038 +/- 0.034 indicates agreement between both data sets within the quantified experimental errors. (C) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.