Making methane visible (Abstract, Magnus Gålfalk, Göran Olofsson, Patrick Crill & David Bastviken, Nature Cliate Change, Nov. 30, 2015)
Also discussed here: Advanced new camera can measure greenhouse gases (Science Daily, Nov. 30, 2015)
Today we review research from Sweden aimed at detecting methane, a highly radiative and invisible greenhouse gas, whose importance is being heightened by fracking natural gas in North America and elsewhere and the difficulty in measuring and monitoring it as part of climate change mitigation and action plans. The application of the new method uses a camera to record a high resolution spectrum and selects the methane contribution. This may be applied to sewage sludge deposits, combustion processes, animal husbandry and lakes as well as the vast areas of bogs and marshes that make up northern Canada and Russia. The present study used a camera on the ground but plans are to make it airborne for larger scale methane mapping.
“Methane (CH4) is one of the most important greenhouse gases, and an important energy carrier in biogas and natural gas.”
“There are several questions surrounding the powerful greenhouse gas methane. Its rapid but irregular increase in the atmosphere has puzzled researchers. And there is a high degree of uncertainty with regard to the sources and sinks of methane in the landscape”
“Here we show that CH4 gradients can be imaged on the <m2 scale at ambient levels (~1.8 ppm) and filmed using optimized infrared (IR) hyperspectral imaging.”
“The camera can be used to measure emissions from many environments including sewage sludge deposits, combustion processes, animal husbandry and lakes. For each pixel in the image the camera records a high-resolution spectrum, which makes it possible to quantify the methane separately from the other gases”
"This gives us new possibilities for mapping and monitoring methane sources and sinks, and it will help us understand how methane emissions are regulated and how we can reduce emissions. So far the camera has been used from the ground and now we're working to make it airborn for more large-scale methane mapping,"