Sentinel-2 helps in Methane Monitoring

 Sentinel-2 helps in Methane Monitoring

At the recent #COP26, over 100 countries signed the Global Methane Pledge, an initiative to reduce global methane emissions to keep the goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius within reach—and the @CopernicusEU Sentinel-2 satellites are ready to help.

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that is responsible for roughly one quarter of the climate warming experienced since preindustrial times.

Surveys of methane-emitting facilities have shown that a small number of anomalously strong point sources contribute a large fraction of total emissions, due to equipment malfunction and/or abnormal operating conditions.

This presents an opportunity for effective climate change mitigation, if the strongest point sources can be rapidly identified, repaired, and regularly monitored.

While Copernicus Sentinel-5P is the ‘official’ mission dedicated to atmospheric monitoring and thus to the detection and monitoring of methane (and other gasses), Copernicus Sentinel-2 keeps demonstrating that it goes beyond its initial aim to monitor land, and is now showing the capability to precisely measure methane leaks from oil/gas facilities.

Satellite observations of atmospheric methane by solar backscatter in the shortwave infrared (SWIR) have unique potential for global and individual monitoring of point sources, but a combination of fine spatial resolution and frequent revisit rate is needed.

A study performed by researchers of the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Harvard University, and GHGSat, Inc., in Canada, demonstrated the capabilities of the Sentinel-2 twin satellites of the European Union’s Copernicus Programme, to detect and quantify strong methane point sources globally, with both fine pixel resolution and frequent revisits.

Copernicus Sentinel-2 (source: ESA)

Read more

Read the full article on the ESA Sentinel Success Stories website here.

Remco Timmermans

Related post