Atmospheric & Environmental Chemistry Seminars

Quantifying atmospheric methane emissions with satellite observations

Daniel Varon (Harvard University)

Friday, Feb 2, 2024
12:00 pm to 1:00 pm | Pierce Hall, 100F | Remote option

Atmospheric methane is a potent greenhouse gas responsible for more than one quarter of climate warming since preindustrial times. Decreasing methane emissions has become a major focus of climate policy as a strategy to mitigate near-term climate change. More than 150 countries have signed the 2021 Global Methane Pledge to cut emissions by 30% by 2030. Anthropogenic methane emissions originate from many sectors including oil and gas, coal, waste, livestock, and agriculture. Recent methane trends are poorly understood, with competing hypotheses to explain periods of strong variability observed over the last four decades. Satellites have unique capabilities to quantify and attribute methane emissions worldwide. In this talk, I will discuss recent advances in satellite remote sensing of methane emissions, including targeted observation of individual point sources, global mapping of large emitters with land-imaging satellites, and real-time monitoring of extreme methane releases from geostationary orbit. Furthermore, I will demonstrate continuous monitoring of total regional emissions from oil and gas fields using a novel cloud-based inverse modeling facility to infer weekly methane emissions at 25-km resolution from TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) satellite observations.

Speaker Bio

Daniel Varon is a research associate studying atmospheric composition at Harvard University. He received his PhD in atmospheric chemistry from Harvard in 2020 and held a visiting postdoctoral fellowship at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs from 2021 to 2023. His research revolves around satellite remote sensing of atmospheric composition and its potential to help mitigate human impacts on the atmosphere.


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