Aircraft Remote Sensing Measurements of Arctic Methane

S. M. Illingworth, G. Allen, M. W. Gallagher, Keith Bower, J. Muller, S. O'Shea, S. Bauguitte, A. Vance, S. Newman, J. Kent, C. Harlow, J. A. Pyle

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


    The importance of aircraft in-situ measurements of Arctic methane (CH4) concentrations is well understood, providing not only spatially resolved and accurate concentration data, but also essential validation for ground-based and satellite remote sensing instrumentation. The role of airborne remote sensing instruments is equally important in building up an accurate quantitative and process-driven understanding of atmospheric CH4, where the added benefit of a larger spatial coverage and potential for near surface measurements results in a better characterization of potential localized emission sources. As part of the Methane and other greenhouse gases in the Arctic - Measurements, process studies and Modelling (MAMM) campaign, the Manchester Airborne Retrieval Scheme (MARS) has been developed to produce well-characterized retrievals of atmospheric CH4 from spectra measured by the UK Met Office Airborne Research Interferometer Evaluation System (ARIES), a Fourier transform spectrometer that is mounted on the NERC Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements (FAAM) aircraft. Data retrieved from ARIES spectra for methane (and other greenhouse gas) concentration profiles measured during MAMM will be presented, highlighting the utility of airborne nadir FTIR sensing for near-surface and partial-column mapping over local emission sources and in climatological sampling over wide areas. We shall demonstrate the validation of ARIES profile results against in-situ measurements, with error characterization suggesting that the retrieval bias is of the order of 1-2%. Because of the relative sensitivity to the surface when flying at low altitudes, these retrievals can be used to better characterize both the natural and industrial sources of Arctic CH4 and long-range inputs to the area, as well as being used to detect potential seabed CH4 seepage events.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationFall Meeting 2013, abstract #B33K-0608
    Place of Publication2013AGUFM.B33K0608I
    PublisherAmerican Geophysical Union
    Publication statusPublished - 2013
    EventAGU Fall Meeting 2013 -
    Duration: 9 Dec 2013 → …


    ConferenceAGU Fall Meeting 2013
    Period9/12/13 → …


    • Remote sensing, Wetlands


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