A method was developed to estimate the consumption of CH4
and the release of CO2
by gas flaring using VIIRS nighttime data. The results agreed with the field data collected at six stations in Bakken field, North Dakota, USA, within ±50%, as measured by mean relative errors and with a correlation coefficient of 0.75. This improved over the NOAA NightFire estimates, likely due to: (1) more stringent data selection using only the middle portion of cloud-free VIIRS nighttime imagery; (2) the use of a lower heating rate, which is more suitable for the field condition; and (3) more accurate efficiency factors in calculating completeness in combustion and conversion of total reaction energy into radiant energy that can be sensed by a satellite sensor. While using atmospherically-corrected data can further improve the estimate of CH4
consumption by ~10%, the major uncertainty remains as being the form factor of the flares, particularly the ratio of total surface area of a flare to the cross-section area that was seen by a satellite sensor.
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