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Open AccessArticle

A Near-Field Gaussian Plume Inversion Flux Quantification Method, Applied to Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Sampling

1
Centre for Atmospheric Science, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
2
National Centre for Atmospheric Science, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
3
National Physical Laboratory, Hampton Road, Teddington, Middlesex TW11 0LW, UK
4
School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
5
Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, University of Southampton, University Road, Hampshire SO17 1BJ, UK
6
Department of Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, Bygningstorvet, Bygning 115, 2800 Kongens Lyngby, Denmark
7
Environment Agency, Tyneside House, Skinnerburn Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE4 7AR, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Atmosphere 2019, 10(7), 396; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10070396
Received: 3 July 2019 / Accepted: 9 July 2019 / Published: 15 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Measurement of Atmospheric Composition by Unmanned Aerial Systems)
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Abstract

The accurate quantification of methane emissions from point sources is required to better quantify emissions for sector-specific reporting and inventory validation. An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) serves as a platform to sample plumes near to source. This paper describes a near-field Gaussian plume inversion (NGI) flux technique, adapted for downwind sampling of turbulent plumes, by fitting a plume model to measured flux density in three spatial dimensions. The method was refined and tested using sample data acquired from eight UAV flights, which measured a controlled release of methane gas. Sampling was conducted to a maximum height of 31 m (i.e. above the maximum height of the emission plumes). The method applies a flux inversion to plumes sampled near point sources. To test the method, a series of random walk sampling simulations were used to derive an NGI upper uncertainty bound by quantifying systematic flux bias due to a limited spatial sampling extent typical for short-duration small UAV flights (less than 30 min). The development of the NGI method enables its future use to quantify methane emissions for point sources, facilitating future assessments of emissions from specific source-types and source areas. This allows for atmospheric measurement-based fluxes to be derived using downwind UAV sampling for relatively rapid flux analysis, without the need for access to difficult-to-reach areas. View Full-Text
Keywords: methane; flux quantification; Gaussian plume; UAV methane; flux quantification; Gaussian plume; UAV
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Shah, A.; Allen, G.; Pitt, J.R.; Ricketts, H.; Williams, P.I.; Helmore, J.; Finlayson, A.; Robinson, R.; Kabbabe, K.; Hollingsworth, P.; Rees-White, T.C.; Beaven, R.; Scheutz, C.; Bourn, M. A Near-Field Gaussian Plume Inversion Flux Quantification Method, Applied to Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Sampling. Atmosphere 2019, 10, 396.

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