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