August 15, 2020 to September 7, 2020
Project Location: 
RMMA, Broomfield, CO
Project Phase: 
Funding Type: 
NSF Funded
What's New?: 

March 10, 2020: MethaneAIR has been postponed. For more information please contact the Project Manager.

The new dates of the project are tentatively 15 August-7 September 2020.

Project Description: 

MethaneAIR is an airborne imaging spectrometer funded by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and private philanthropy as part of the EDF International Methane project. The first scientific goal of the EDF program is to accurately measure emissions of CH4 from oil and gas production and processing facilities across the world, in order to define and track this major contribution to the rise of this greenhouse gas and pollutant in the global atmosphere. Representative observations of other major emission sources (landfills, coal mines, etc) are included.

MethaneAIR is the precursor of MethaneSAT, EDF's small satellite intended to revolutionize measurements and modeling of emissions of CH4 at regional (100s of km) and fine scales (< 1 km), across the globe. The MethaneAIR and MethaneSAT spectrometers use the same wavelengths, spectral sampling, and resolution.

MethaneAIR measures total column dry air mole fraction (DAMF) of CH4 and CO2 (XCH4 and XCO2). DAMF measurements from aircraft and satellite are extraordinarily powerful for regional and large-scale source determination because they directly determine the mass loading of the atmosphere. MethaneAIR retrieves total column amounts of CH4  and CO2 using a radiative transfer model to analyze absorption spectra at 1.6 – 1.7 µm, observed in sunlight reflected from the ground. MethaneAIR normalizes these total columns by total column O2 that it measures in the 1.27 µm band of O2. Spatial and spectral resolutions (6 x 20 m, 0.05 nm, respectively) are much higher than previous measurements of this type. The swath will nevertheless be quite wide, about 7 km from 30 kft.