Quantification of emissions from industrial gas flares

According to a recent study (Bonde et al., JGR 2013), black carbon has the second strongest effect on the earth climate system after carbon dioxide. While industrial gas flares are estimated to contribute only 3% of global emissions of black carbon, they dominate black carbon emissions in high Northern latitudes, contributing 42% of the near surface black carbon particulates (Stohl et al. ACP 2013). This fact is particularly relevant for the relatively fast observed climate change in the Arctic since deposition of black carbon changes the albedo of snow and ice, thus leading to a positive feedback cycle. The research project is led by the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry (MPIC). MPIC and ZEBRIS develop a processing chain for the global estimation of trace gas and particulate matter emissions of gas flares from observations of the infrared cameras on board of the European Sentinel-3 satellite. We also analyze historical data from the precursor instrument AATSR on Envisat. To obtain emissions, we first estimate gas consumption from observations through a cross-calibration with observations of the (higher Resolution) German BIRD, TET-1 and BIROS sensors, and then multiply gas consumtion with emisison factors from the literature. Calculation of emissons is based on the Global Fire Assimilation System (GFAS) developed for the Copernicus Atmosphere service. GFAS calculates black carbon emissions of vegetation fires in near real time. This service shall be extended to gas flares through this research project.