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Evaluating Use of Satellite Observations for Detecting Large CO2 Leaks and Carbon Sequestration Monitoring
  • Samuel A. Vigil

We tested the feasibility of orbital CO2 sensors as detectors of leaks from sequestration sites using the SCIAMACHY and GOSAT instruments. From the footprint size of each instrument we calculated the atmospheric volume sampled by SCIAMACHY and GOSAT readings, and from this data the amount of CO2 leakage necessary to measurably impact readings from the instruments. We used a high-emission coal electric plant as a baseline leak quantity, which is a substantially larger amount of CO2 than would be expected from a sequestration leak. Nonetheless, the plant’s output is not detectable by either instrument. Geospatial and geostatistical analysis of collected data supports this conclusion. SCIAMACHY data from the summer of 2005 over the contiguous US showed broad topographic patterns in CO2distribution, with the eastern flanks of mountain ranges hosting anomalously high levels of CO2, and basin regions hosting lows. The cause of these tendencies has not been determined. Calculations applied to the OCO-2 instrument, scheduled for a 2013 launch, found that it will be capable of detecting the coal plant’s emission and may be a viable tool for detecting large carbon leaks from sequestration sites.
  • carbon dioxide sequestration,
  • satellite retrivals,
  • OCO-2
Publication Date
Summer August 1, 2012
This work performed under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy by Lawrence Livermore
National Laboratory under Contract DE-AC52-07NA27344.

Authors include: W. Brewer, G. Hoffman, E. Silver, C. DiLeonardo, J. R. Henderson, and S. Vigil
Citation Information
Samuel A. Vigil. "Evaluating Use of Satellite Observations for Detecting Large CO2 Leaks and Carbon Sequestration Monitoring" (2012)
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