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Our Projects

Expanding to Europe

Scientific Aviation is partnering with UN Environment, through its Climate & Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) initiative, and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to undertake a first-of-its-kind group of studies that will provide top-down quantification of methane emissions from the energy sector in Europe and North Africa. The initial three projects are set to occur in the Norwegian North Sea, Romania, and Algeria over the next 6 months. We anticipate that these projects will mark the beginning of a global partnership working together towards a sustainable future.


EDF Permian Surveying

The Permian Basin has grown to become the most productive oil field in the country and one of the largest in the world, but too little is known about what this drilling boom means for methane waste and pollution. A new science effort led by Environmental Defense Fund with researchers from Penn State, the University of Wyoming and Scientific Aviation will help fill this knowledge gap and better inform state regulators in New Mexico who are moving forward on state methane rules.


ROMEO (ROmanian Methane Emissions from Oil and gas)

Collaboration is the driving force behind Romanian Methane Emissions from Oil and Gas, or “ROMEO”. As a project within the larger Methane Goes Mobile – Measurements and Modeling (MEMO2) campaign sponsored by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, ROMEO aims to further global understanding of quantity and context of the oil and gas emissions produced within Romania. ROMEO is funded through the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), administered through the United Nations Environment Program.


California Statewide Methane Emissions Survey

Since 2017, Scientific Aviation has worked with the California Air Resources Board to conduct methane flux measurements from oil and gas facilities, dairies, ranches, landfills, wastewater treament plants, and other known methane sources across the state. This work is part of a greenhouse gas monitoring and measurement program mandated by California State Assembly Bill No. 1496.

Visit the California ARB site to learn more

Gulf of Mexico

Methane Emissions from Offshore Drilling Rigs

In January of 2018, Sci Av worked with colleagues at the University of Michigan on a UN project aimed at quantifying methane emissions from offshore drilling rigs. Sci Av conducted both individual source flux measurements and area-wide mass balance measurements of these production facilities. This project is part of on-going activities by UN Environment’s Climate & Clean Air Coalition that Scientific Aviation is participating in, which are dedicated to better understanding global methane emissions from the energy sector.


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 working with scientists at 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


Lake Michigan Ozone Study (2017)

The coast of Lake Michigan has been experiencing elevated spring and summertime ozone levels for several years, with ozone levels exceeding the 2015 National Ambient Air Quality Standards. Production of ozone over Lake Michigan combined with onshore lake breeze air flow is though to lead these higher ozone levels observed at location along the lake shore. This air quality challenge motivated the Lake Michigan Ozone during May and June of 2017, which was a collaborative effort between LADCO, NASA, NOAA, EPA, EPRI, Scientific Aviation, and several university research groups. 

Visit the NASA LMOS 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 worked with 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.

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