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Quantifying sources of methane using cavity ring-down spectroscopy

Informal Lunchtime Atmospheric Chemistry Discussion Series

Presented by
Sabour Baray (M.Sc. Candidate)
Centre for Atmospheric Chemistry
Tuesday, November 25, 2014 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
317 Petrie Science and Engineering Bldg.
York University


Of the compounds most influential in radiative forcing, methane is 3rd overall next to water and carbon dioxide. While background levels of methane have been relatively stable since the 1980’s, a recent and poorly-understood spike in the mixing ratio has been observed as of 2007. In these studies sources of methane were investigated in both industrial and urban environments. In the summer of 2013 during the Oil Sands field study led by Environment Canada, aircraft and ground-site measurements of multiple species, including CO2, CH4, CO and H2O were made by a Picarro cavity ring-down spectrometer (CRDS) instrument. Methane peaks of up to 4.3 parts per trillion were observed, and analysis has been ongoing in order to paint a 3 dimensional picture of emissions and to differentiate between various sources present. In the fall of 2014, an urban field study in the Greater Toronto Area was completed with the same CRDS instrument in order to investigate methane emissions from various classes of vehicles. A range of emissions factors were observed up to 3 times the recommended values in the Canadian inventory.

Updated on November 21st, 2014.