Novel Remote Sensing Methods for Methane Emissions from satellites and aircraft
Fully-funded PhD studentship for UK/EU Students in the Earth Observation Science Group at the Universiy of Leicester
Methane is becoming increasingly important for managing realistic pathways towards mitigating climate change due to its shorter atmospheric lifetime and much stronger warming potential than CO2. This is challenged by the still unexplained changes
of atmospheric methane. A major difficulty in reducing uncertainties comes from the large variety of localized and diffusive sources that overlap geographically. Many localized emission sources (such as gas leaks, refineries, factory farming, landfills) are
poorly known and to close regional methane budgets is a major scientific challenge.
Progress in our understanding of regional methane emissions will only be possible if we have better methods for detecting and quantifying emissions from local sources. New and emerging remote-sensing methods are promising a major leap forward in methane
detection. Hyperspectral, imaging data from aircraft and from satellites provides data with a spatial resolution of meters (but with low spectral resolution) which has proven to be a powerful tool for detecting methane plumes. We will also see the launch of
a new satellite instrument (Sentinel-5 P; launch in September 2017) which will give us, for the first time, daily global data of methane with a ground resolution of 7x7 km2
In this studentship, we will take advantage of these new developments to develop new methods aimed at methane emissions from local emitters. We will apply image analysis methods to observations acquired by the hyperspectral FENIX imager flown on the British
Antarctic Survey aircraft, specifically targeting emissions sources over the UK. We expect that we will also have access to dedicated flights for this studentship. We will also use new data from the Sentinel 5-P instrument which will provide information on
strong point sources but also on larger-scale emission sources, eg. from agriculture. For the interpretation of the aircraft and satellite data, we will use the UK Met Office Dispersion model NAME which links atmospheric data to the surface emissions.
This studentship will be in cooperation with the National Physics Laboratory NPL. NPL are operating a ground-based emission monitoring service for industrial sources using a LIDAR system which provides a unique opportunity for inter-comparing the different
Prof. Hartmut Boesch