Plots comparing retrieved and reported CO2 emission rates.
Comparison between retrieved and CO2 emission rates reported by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The top row shows a comparison between retrieved CO2 plumes from an airborne (A) instrument and the PRISMA satellite (B) at the coal-fired Hunter Power Plant in Utah, overlaid on a Google Earth image. The bottom panel is a scatterplot of power plant emissions from airborne and satellite compared to EPA Continuous Emissions Monitoring (CEMS) reports. The dashed grey line represents the one-to-one line. Credit: Cusworth et al. [2021], Figure 1
Source: AGU Advances

Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from power plants represents one of the largest sources of greenhouse gases from humans. Keeping track of CO2 emissions from all global power plants is difficult, as good emission data can depend on a country’s emission reporting protocols. However, remote sensing with imaging spectrometer instruments offers a new capability to do top-down monitoring. These instruments provide high spatial resolution CO2 plume maps which can be used to quantify emissions. Cusworth et al. [2021] show examples where CO2 emissions are quantified and validated at 21 global gas and coal fired power plants using airborne and satellite imaging spectrometers. With repeated targeting by satellites, it is estimated that 6 percent of all global power plant emissions could be constrained. This capability is key to reducing uncertainties in global anthropogenic CO2 emission budgets and supporting emissions mitigation strategies.

Citation: Cusworth, D. H., Duren, R. M., Thorpe, A. K., Eastwood, M. L., Green, R. O., Dennison, P. E., et al. [2021]. Quantifying global power plant carbon dioxide emissions with imaging spectroscopy. AGU Advances, 2, e2020AV000350.

—Donald Wuebbles, Editor, AGU Advances

Text © 2021. The authors. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
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