3335 Airport Rd, Boulder, CO, USA

Our Projects


Scientific Aviation NASA Ames Atmospheric Experiment

Scientific Aviation has contracted with NASA Ames to conduct regular vertical profile measurements of methane, CO2, NO2, and ozone through the tropospheric column for satellite validation during overpasses of the OCO-2 and TROPOMI satellites


Arctic – Boreal Vulnerability Experiment

ABoVE is a 10 year, NASA sponsored research project focused on observing the changes that are happening in the northern latitudes of Earth. Scientific Aviation is contracted through the University of Colorado – Boulder and NOAA to conduct in situ air sampling across the state of Alaska and western Canada. Scientific Aviation teams fly over 4,000 nm across the entire Arctic region collecting samples of methane and carbon dioxide emissions from melting permafrost and boreal forests.

Visit NASA ABoVE site


Las Vegas Ozone Study (2013)
Fires, Asian, and Stratospheric TransportLas Vegas Ozone Study (2017)

The LVOS, and the follow-up FAST-LVOS, campaigns were NOAA-lead studies aimed at assessing the influence and contribution of long-range transport from Asia, wildfire activity, and stratosphere-troposphere exchange to high surface-level ozone events in Las Vegas and Clark County, Nevada. Scientific Aviation performed aerial measurements of ozone and other trace gases in coordination with the ground-based LIDAR operated by the NOAA team.

Visit the NOAA LVOS siteVisit the NOAA FAST-LVOS site

Aliso Canyon Gas Leak

The Aliso Canyon Gas Leak (aka Porter Ranch Gas Leak) was discovered in October of 2015. The leak released an estimated 97,000 tons of methane and 7,300 tons of ethane into the atmosphere. The carbon footprint of the Aliso Canyon Gas Leak is said to be larger than that of the Deep Water Horizon incident. California residents around the site of the leak experienced a wide variety of illnesses. Scientific Aviation was contracted to collect point source measurements of the leak directly above the suspected breached well, as well as provide reports and professional leak detection.  Since 2015, Scientific Aviation has made periodic emissions measurements of the Aliso Canyon Gas Storage Facility.

Conley, S., Franco, G., Faloona, I., Blake, D. R., Peischl, J., Ryerson, T. B. (2016). Methane emissions from the 2015 Aliso Canyon blowout in Los Angeles, CA. Science, 351 (6279), 1317-1320. doi: 10.1126/science.aaf2348.


NOAA-lead Four Corners Methane Study

Scientific Aviation was contracted by NOAA to study the anomalies associated with the four corners methane plume. SciAv worked as a team with 3 NOAA Twin Otter research aircraft, as well as scientists from University of Michigan and NOAA.

Smith, M. L., Gvakharia, A., Kort, E. A., Sweeney, C., Conley, S., Faloona, I., Newberger, T., Schnell, R., Schwietzke, S., Wolter. S. (2017). Airborne quantification of methane emissions over the Four Corners region. Environmental Science & Technology, 51 (10), 5832–5837. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.6b06107.

The Barnett Shale 

During recent years, inland hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) technology has increased in efficiency, thus resulting in an increase of land-based fracking in the Barnett Shale and other regions. Flying with our Picarro and Aerodyne analyzers, we were able to measure methane and ethane in the atmosphere above the Barnett region. We collaborated with project scientists from NOAA, University of Michigan, and EDF to understand how much methane was emitted, as well as the sources of the emissions.

Smith, M. L., Kort, E. A., Karion, A., Sweeney, C., Herndon, S. C., Yacovitch, T. I. (2015). Airborne ethane observations in the Barnett shale: Quantification of ethane flux and attribution of methane emissions. Environmental Science & Technology, 49 (13), 8158–8166, doi: 10.1021/acs.est.5b00219.