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Hyperspectral IR Camera Measures Air's Methane Content

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A hyperspectral IR camera sensitive to methane in the air could help measure and monitor greenhouse gases.

The camera, developed by a team from the universities of Linköping and Stockholm, weighs 35 kg and measures 50 × 45 × 25 cm.

The researchers imaged methane gradients at square-meter spatial resolution at ambient levels (1.8 parts per million). The approach allowed both spectroscopic confirmation of and quantification for all pixels in an imaged scene simultaneously, allowing for quantification of methane separately from other gases. The team also demonstrated the ability to map fluxes of gas.

Camera test at Foljesjon, a lake in a research area west of Vanersborg, Sweden.
Camera test at Foljesjon, a lake in a research area west of Vanersborg, Sweden. Courtesy of Linköping University.

"The camera is very sensitive, which means that the methane is both visible and measureable close to ground level, with much higher resolution than previously. Being able to measure on a small scale is crucial," said Magnus Gålfalk, a professor at Linköping University, who led the study.

The camera can be used to measure emissions from many environments, including sewage sludge deposits, combustion processes, animal husbandry and lakes.

"This gives us new possibilities for mapping and monitoring methane sources and sinks, and it will help us understand how methane emissions are regulated and how we can reduce emissions," said David Bastviken, a professor at Linköping University.

Future research aims to make the technology airborne for large-scale methane mapping.

The research was published in Nature Climate Change (doi: 10.1038/nclimate2877).
Dec 2015
hyperspectral imaging
Methods for identifying and mapping materials through spectroscopic remote sensing. Also called imaging spectroscopy; ultraspectral imaging.
camerashyperspectral imagingindustrialinfrared camerasResearch & TechnologyEuropeSwedenLinkopingimaginghyperspectralIRenvironmentMagnus GalfalkDavid BastvikenTechnology News

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