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Uinta Basin gas leakage far worse than most believe

(SLTrib) - Accepted for publication in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, the study was conducted by the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, or CIRES, which Colorado runs jointly with NOAA in Boulder.

The NOAA team piggybacked its work on a study funded in part by Utah examining ozone formation in the basin two winters ago. The team flew over the basin at about 1,000 feet gathering air samples and readings over several weeks.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Fri Aug 9th, 2013 at 08:32:24 AM EST
The particular measurement discussed downthread, which measured the methane emission rate exploiting a turn of the weather, was a single measurement during that weeks-long campaign:

"We used a mass balance technique, which means we follow an air mass as it moves into the region and then flows out," said Colm Sweeney, a scientist with the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder, who leads the aircraft group at NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory Global Monitoring Division. "We look at the difference in methane between those two to determine an actual emissions rate for the region."

CIRES, NOAA and other scientists have used this type of atmospheric mass balance accounting technique in many other settings--to determine power plant emissions, for example, and the atmospheric impacts of refineries and cities, said Anna Karion, lead author of the new paper and a CIRES atmospheric scientist who also works at NOAA.

In Utah's Uintah Basin, on one day during a weeks-long field campaign in 2012, weather conditions were near ideal for testing the technique in an oil and gas field, Karion said. Late on February 2, a weather front passed through, with high winds that swept clean the atmosphere above the Uintah Basin, south of Vernal, Utah.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Aug 9th, 2013 at 04:42:12 PM EST
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