An uncertainty-based protocol for the setup and measurement of soot–black carbon emissions from gas flares using sky-LOSA

Conrad, Bradley M.; Johnson, Matthew R.

Gas flaring is an important source of atmospheric soot–black carbon, especially in sensitive Arctic regions. However, emissions have traditionally been challenging to measure and remain poorly characterized, confounding international reporting requirements and adding uncertainty to climate models. The sky-LOSA optical measurement technique has emerged as a powerful means to quantify flare black carbon emissions in the field, but broader adoption has been hampered by the complexity of its deployment, where decisions during setup in the field can have profound, non-linear impacts on achievable measurement uncertainties. To address this challenge, this paper presents a prescriptive measurement protocol and associated open-source software tool that simplify acquisition of sky-LOSA data in the field. Leveraging a comprehensive Monte Carlo-based general uncertainty analysis (GUA) to predict measurement uncertainties over the entire breadth of possible measurement conditions, general heuristics are identified to guide a sky-LOSA user toward optimal data collection. These are further extended in the open-source software utility, SetupSkyLOSA, which interprets the GUA results to provide detailed guidance for any specific combination of location, date–time, and flare, plume, and ambient conditions. Finally, a case study of a sky-LOSA measurement at an oil and gas facility in Mexico is used to demonstrate the utility of the software tool, where potentially small regions of optimal instrument setup are easily and quickly identified. It is hoped that this work will help increase the accessibility of the sky-LOSA technique and ultimately the availability of field measurement data for flare black carbon emissions.



Conrad, Bradley M. / Johnson, Matthew R.: An uncertainty-based protocol for the setup and measurement of soot–black carbon emissions from gas flares using sky-LOSA. 2021. Copernicus Publications.


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