Fingerprinting Methane Emissions

As researchers across the world debate the source of recent methane concentration increases, with some indicating fugitive emissions from the fossil fuel industry are most important while others look to those from agriculture and landfills, organizations have answered the call for remote methane detection and monitoring tools to improve measurement reliability. For example, from low-Earth orbit, GMI’s longtime partner, GHGSat has been monitoring methane emissions from Canada’s tar sands, among other targeted sites, since launching its first satellite, CLAIRE, earlier this summer.

Aerial view of the Bakken Oil and Gas Field in North Dakota, U.S., one of the areas included in NOAA’s new study quantifying emissions from oil and gas operations. Credit: NOAA

Earlier this year, a team led by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has debuted a method to monitor and fingerprint methane emissions on a larger scale. Collecting samples from a small twin-propeller aircraft, the team uses the light hydrocarbon ethane as a tracer for methane emitted from oil and gas reservoirs as opposed to methane emitted from biological sources. By reviewing variations in ethane concentrations over time, the research team hopes to show how changes in human activities – for example, increases in natural gas production from hydraulic fracturing (fracking) – have altered methane concentrations and worldwide greenhouse gas loading. Researchers

For more information on the study, check out Scientific American’s recent article or NOAA’s recent news release on the implications of the study.

GHGSat to Launch Today!

The Canadian-based GHGSat, a longtime GMI Project Network member, as well as a supporter of the Global Methane Forum in March 2016, is ready to launch CLAIRE, its innovative methane detection satellite.

The launch, from India’s Satish Dhawan Space Centre, will occur tonight at 11:56 pm (Washington, D.C., USA time)! You can check out the live webcast of the launch on Indian media.

For more information about the satellite’s capabilities, Inside Climate News just published a fantastic article all about the launch. Or head over to GHGSat’s website for the latest news and watch the countdown tick down.


Global Methane Forum Highlights – GHGSat


Did you know that GHGSat, one of GMI’s Project Network organizations and a supporter of next month’s Global Methane Forum, is ramping up to launch a new satellite this year?

GHGSat offers methane detection, measurement and monitoring services, using its innovative satellite technology. After its launch in April, their state-of-the-art greenhouse gas (GHG)-monitoring satellite (named “CLAIRE”) will begin an emissions monitoring project in conjunction with Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance. Once in orbit and fully operational, CLAIRE will start taking measurements of methane emissions from two tailings ponds and one mine face.

Ultimately, GHGSat’s platform will be able to measure carbon dioxide and methane emissions from individual industrial facilities, anywhere in the world, with high precision and at lower cost than comparable alternatives. Since the same satellite can measure any facility in the world, GHGSat can provide consistent, reliable measurements across jurisdictions. GHGSat was also named on the 2016 GreenTec Awards’ Top 10 in the Production category!

For more information, see or contact them at