Methane Detection Study  

We are investigating the use of novel imaging technologies for detecting and quantifying methane emissions in the atmosphere.
A photo of hardware on a lab bench.
Pictured above is a sensor for airborne gas measurement.  

Cutting emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, could have a significant impact on slowing the rate of global warming. We are studying how existing Laboratory technology could be applied to enable both global measurements of these emissions and remote detection of methane leaks. Several airborne and space-based imaging technologies hold promise, including microwave sounders, imaging spectrometers, and lidars.

Our near-term goal is to develop a system concept for a novel, high-area coverage rate system. The study approach integrates radiative transfer modeling with potential spectral-imaging designs and signal processing approaches to detect and quantify methane plumes and the ambient methane within the atmosphere. The approach includes interferometric and dispersive spectrometers coupled with microwave sounding products to provide atmospheric profiles to constrain the radiative transfer modeling required for methane detection and quantification.