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ERE Seminar: Daniel Varon (Harvard) | "Quantifying individual methane point sources in oil and..."

Monday, Apr 5, 2021 11:30 AM
Virtual Meeting via Zoom (see login details in Description)
More Info:
ERE Seminar: Daniel Varon (Harvard) | "Quantifying individual methane point sou…
Faculty/Staff, Students, Alumni/Friends
Energy Resources Engineering

Daniel Varon | Postdoctoral Researcher in Atmospheric Chemistry Modeling Group at Harvard University

"Quantifying individual methane point sources in oil and gas fields using high-resolution satellite observations"

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that is responsible for roughly one quarter of the climate warming experienced since preindustrial times. Oil and gas production gives rise to large anthropogenic methane emissions from numerous point sources. Mounting evidence shows that a small number of strong point sources account for a disproportionate fraction of total industry-wide emissions, due to a combination of malfunctioning equipment and inefficient operations. This presents an opportunity for effective climate-change mitigation if the strongest sources can be rapidly identified, repaired, and routinely monitored. Satellite observations of atmospheric methane have unique potential for global and individual monitoring of point sources. I will describe how high-resolution GHGSat-D satellite observations have been used to quantify methane point sources in a Central Asian oil and gas field, and compare facility-scale GHGSat data with regional-scale satellite measurements from the TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI). Furthermore, I will show how methane point sources can be quantified using the European Space Agency's Sentinel-2 twin satellites with 20-m pixel resolution and global revisits every 2-5 days. I will demonstrate this recently reported capability with examples of point-source monitoring in Turkmenistan and Algeria.


    • Varon, D. J., Jervis, D., McKeever, J., Spence, I., Gains, D., and Jacob, D. J.: High-frequency monitoring of anomalous methane point sources with multispectral Sentinel-2 satellite observations, Atmos. Meas. Tech. Discuss. [preprint],, in review, 2020.
    • Varon, D. J., McKeever, J., Jervis, D., Maasakkers, J. D., Pandey, S., Houweling, S., et al. (2019). Satellite discovery of anomalously large methane point sources from oil/gas production. Geophysical Research Letters, 46, 13507– 13516.
    • Varon, D. J., Jacob, D. J., McKeever, J., Jervis, D., Durak, B. O. A., Xia, Y., and Huang, Y.: Quantifying methane point sources from fine-scale satellite observations of atmospheric methane plumes, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 11, 5673–5686,, 2018.

Daniel Varon is a postdoctoral researcher in the Atmospheric Chemistry Modeling Group at Harvard University, with a co-appointment at GHGSat, Inc. He studies satellite remote sensing of greenhouse gases and focuses on anthropogenic methane emissions. His work aims to develop the utility of satellite observations for monitoring greenhouse gas emissions at global and regional scales down to the level of individual point sources.

*If you are a Stanford Affiliate outside of Energy Resources Engineering (ERE) department and would like to attend, please contact Emily Gwynn ( for the Zoom Meeting link and password.

**If you are in Energy Resources Engineering (ERE) department, you will receive an announcement from Emily Gwynn ( with the Zoom Meeting link and password.

2019 Webby Award Nominee

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