How do satellites detect methane?
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GHGSat uses a two-satellite method to identify unknown methane leaks. First, a satellite identifies a general area where methane concentrations appear to be rising. Then, it sends one of two newer, far more sensitive satellites, known as Claire and Iris, to look more closely.
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Kayrros, a data analytics uses this data to assess company methane emissions. The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is set to launch the ‘MethaneSAT’ satellite with the aim of scanning the globe for methane leaks and to make the information public. The satellite is said to be able to track emissions with unprecedented accuracy.
December 11, 2020 by Meredith Fowlie. Satellites, drones, and airplanes should be used to detect methane leaks across the million active wells and hundreds of thousands of miles of pipelines across the U.S. That’s because without proper monitoring it’s extremely hard to find leaks, let alone regulate them.
MethaneSat will be able to scan 200-kilometer-wide swaths of the earth with spectrometers that can detect methane at concentrations of 2 to 3 parts per billion, down to resolutions of about 100 meters by 400 meters. This will be the best performance of any satellite-based methane tracking technology yet launched, Hamburg said.
This is the dangerous world of atmospheric methane emissions, one of the most powerful drivers of global warning—and it’s visible to the public for the first time.GHGSat Inc. released a new methane map on Wednesday that uses data from the company’s two satellites, which were launched earlier this year and can detect methane emitted by oil and gas wells, coal mines, power plants, farms and factories. It’s part of a wave of climate surveillance that will make it possible to hold ...
The orbiter, a silver rectangular box, has been using Tropomi’s information to home in on industrial facilities, such as oil and gas operations, to see if they have sprung methane leaks.
Spectrometers onboard the satellites are what measure the methane; there are many ways to do this but a common one is using sunlight that is backscattered from the earths surface into the spectrometer.
The TES sensor on NASA’s Aura satellite can measure methane, but it lacks sensitivity in the lower troposphere, where methane emissions occur. The best option now for satellite views of methane in the troposphere is the TANSO sensor on the Japanese GOSAT satellite.
Companies like French Kayrros are using artificial intelligence to enhance satellite imaging, paired with air and ground data, to provide detailed methane reports. At any given time, there are about 100 high-volume methane leaks around the world.
For example, the satellite Sentinel 5P, part of the European Space Agency Copernicus programme, provides frequent readings of methane concentrations across areas with a resolution of 5 km by 7 km. Satellites operated by GHGSat cover a much smaller area each day but can provide data at a very fine spatial resolution (around 50 m by 50 m) and with a much lower detection threshold; PRISMA, operated by the Italian Space Agency, can provide readings at a 30 m by 30 m resolution.