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NATURE CLIMATE CHANGE | ARTICLE

Making methane visible

Magnus Gålfalka, Göran Olofssonb, Patrick Crillc & David Bastvikena.

aDepartment of Thematic Studies—Environmental Change, Linköping University, 581 83 Linköping, Sweden
bDepartment of Astronomy, Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
cDepartment of Geological Sciences, Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden

Link to Nature Climat Change

Abstract
Abstract• References• Author information• Supplementary information
Methane (CH4) is one of the most important greenhouse gases, and an important energy carrier in biogas and natural gas. Its large-scale emission patterns have been unpredictable and the source and sink distributions are poorly constrained. Remote assessment of CH4 with high sensitivity at a m2 spatial resolution would allow detailed mapping of the near-ground distribution and anthropogenic sources in landscapes but has hitherto not been possible. 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. Our approach allows both spectroscopic confirmation and quantification for all pixels in an imaged scene simultaneously. It also has the ability to map fluxes for dynamic scenes. This approach to mapping boundary layer CH4 offers a unique potential way to improve knowledge about greenhouse gases in landscapes and a step towards resolving source–sink attribution and scaling issues.

Supplementary information

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