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Methane: an important greenhouse gas

Methane: an important greenhouse gas

Dave Lowry

I am a stable isotope geochemist spending much research time understanding the sources of methane emissions in the UK and globally. The carbon isotopes of methane can be used to distinguish different sources of methane such as peat bogs, cows, landfills, coal, gas leaks and fires. The Greenhouse Gas Research Group ( make mobile measurements using a vehicle filled with equipment to map plumes of methane emanating from sources and collect samples of these for isotopic analysis in our laboratory. One current project is making measurements using a small aircraft flying over North Sea gas installations to see if methane is escaping.

Departmental 4WD vehicle fitted with greenhouse gas measuring equipment and GPS receiver to map out methane sources. These are mostly in the UK but overseas campaigns have included Australia, Hong Kong, Kuwait and the Netherlands.



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