Atmospheric remote sensing constraints on direct sea-air methane flux from the 22/4b North Sea massive blowout bubble plume

Jorg.Hartmann [ at ]


A new airborne remote sensing approach to estimate an upper limit of the direct sea-air methane emission flux was applied over the 22/4b blowout site located at N57.92°, E1.63° in the North Sea. Passive remote sensing data using sunglint/sunglitter geometry were collected during instrumental tests with the Methane Airborne MAPper \u2013 MAMAP \u2013 instrument installed aboard the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) Polar-5 aircraft on 3. June 2011. MAMAP is a passive short wave infrared (SWIR) remote sensing spectrometer for airborne measurements and retrieval of the atmospheric column-averaged dry air mole fractions of methane (XCH4) and carbon dioxide (XCO2). In addition to MAMAP a fast CH4 in-situ analyzer (Los-Gatos Research Inc. RMT-200), two 5-hole turbulence probes and the Polar-5 basic sensor suite comprising different temperature, pressure, humidity and camera sensors were installed aboard the aircraft. The collected MAMAP remote sensing data acquired in the vicinity of the 22/4b blowout site showed no detectable increase in the derived XCH4 (with respect to the atmospheric background). Based on the absence of a detectable XCH4 column increase, an approximate top-down upper-limit for the direct atmospheric 22/4b blowout CH4 emissions from the main bubble plume of less than 10 ktCH4/yr has been derived. The constraint has been determined by comparing XCH4 information derived by the remote sensing measurements with results obtained from a Gaussian plume forward model simulation taking into account the actual flight track, the instrument sensitivity and measurement geometry, as well as the prevailing atmospheric conditions.

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DOI 10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2015.07.011

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Gerilowski, K. , Krings, T. , Hartmann, J. , Buchwitz, M. , Sachs, T. , Erzinger, J. , Burrows, J. P. and Bovensmann, H. (2015): Atmospheric remote sensing constraints on direct sea-air methane flux from the 22/4b North Sea massive blowout bubble plume , Marine andPetroleumGeology, 68 , pp. 824-835 . doi: 10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2015.07.011

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