Retrieval techniques for airborne imaging of methane concentrations using high spatial and moderate spectral resolution: application to AVIRIS

Thorpe, A. K.; Frankenberg, C.; Roberts, D. A.

Two quantitative retrieval techniques were evaluated to estimate methane (CH 4) enhancement in concentrated plumes using high spatial and moderate spectral resolution data from the Airborne Visible/Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS). An iterative maximum a posteriori differential optical absorption spectroscopy (IMAP-DOAS) algorithm performed well for an ocean scene containing natural CH 4 emissions from the Coal Oil Point (COP) seep field near Santa Barbara, California. IMAP-DOAS retrieval precision errors are expected to equal between 0.31 to 0.61 ppm CH 4 over the lowest atmospheric layer (height up to 1.04 km), corresponding to about a 30 to 60 ppm error for a 10 m thick plume. However, IMAP-DOAS results for a terrestrial scene were adversely influenced by the underlying land cover. A hybrid approach using singular value decomposition (SVD) was particularly effective for terrestrial surfaces because it could better account for spectral variability in surface reflectance. Using this approach, a CH 4 plume was observed extending 0.1 km downwind of two hydrocarbon storage tanks at the Inglewood Oil Field in Los Angeles, California (USA) with a maximum near surface enhancement of 8.45 ppm above background. At COP, the distinct plume had a maximum enhancement of 2.85 ppm CH 4 above background, and extended more than 1 km downwind of known seep locations. A sensitivity analysis also indicates CH 4 sensitivity should be more than doubled for the next generation AVIRIS sensor (AVIRISng) due to improved spectral resolution and sampling. AVIRIS-like sensors offer the potential to better constrain emissions on local and regional scales, including sources of increasing concern like industrial point source emissions and fugitive CH 4 from the oil and gas industry.

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Thorpe, A. K. / Frankenberg, C. / Roberts, D. A.: Retrieval techniques for airborne imaging of methane concentrations using high spatial and moderate spectral resolution: application to AVIRIS. 2014. Copernicus Publications.

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