Measuring Greenhouse Gases

Measuring Greenhouse Gases

There are several questions surrounding the powerful greenhouse gas methane. Its rapid but irregular increase in the atmosphere has puzzled researchers and there is a high degree of uncertainty about the sources and sinks of methane in the landscape. A recently developed camera can help to address these issues. The utility of the camera to both photograph and film methane has been demonstrated in a study published in Nature Climate Change.

The advanced hyperspectral infrared device weighs 30 kilos and measures 50 x 45 x 25 centimetres. It can be used to measure emissions from many environments including sewage sludge deposits, combustion processes, animal husbandry and lakes. For each pixel in the image the camera records a high-resolution spectrum, which makes it possible to quantify the methane separately from the other gases.

 “So far the camera has been used from the ground and now we’re working to make it airborne for more large-scale methane mapping,” says Professor David Bastviken at Linköping University in Sweden.

The camera was developed by a team that combined knowledge from many different fields of expertise, including astronomy, biogeochemistry, engineering and environmental sciences.

Therese Ekstrand Amaya

Science editor at Linköping University in Sweden. Specialises in science communication, including writing, editing, media outreach and social media management. Focus areas are social sciences, environmental sciences, humanities and educational sciences. MSc and former journalist. 

A voice from the Triangulation through Science Communication project.