Skip to main content

Methane emissions

Methane emissions

Rebecca Fisher

Rebecca Fisher

I am an atmospheric scientist with a current research focus on understanding the variability of the concentration of methane in the Earth’s atmosphere. In the greenhouse gas research group we measure concentrations of methane and carbon dioxide at a number of sites globally, from the Arctic to Antarctic. We measure methane isotopic composition (δ13C and δD) to identify which sources are changing.

Field campaigns, using mobile equipment such as our new mobile lab (MIGGAS), allow us to locate and quantify methane emissions and determine the source using methane isotope or methane:ethane ratios. We’ve recently mapped urban gas leaks (e.g. in London, Birmingham and Bucharest) using vehicle mounted instruments and characterised methane elevations from Fennoscandian wetlands, African wetlands and biomass burning and North Sea gas installations during flights on the UK’s FAAM aircraft. The atmospheric measurements we make can be used to see which types of greenhouse gas emission are changing and where mitigation efforts should be focussed as we work towards achieving net-zero carbon emissions.

Measurements of methane mole fraction above Northern Fennoscandia showing elevations over wetlands on a FAAM campaign (Fisher et al., 2017)


Collecting air samples for methane isotopic measurement close to camels at ILRI’s Kapiti research station in Kenya


Making mobile measurements of methane near Bacton gas terminal in Norfolk






Nisbet, E, Fisher, R, Lowry, D, France, J, Allen, G, Bakkaloglu, S, Broderick, TJ, Cain, M, Coleman, M, Fernandez, J, Forster, G, Griffiths, PT, Iverach, CP, Kelly, BFJ, Manning, MR, Nisbet-Jones, P, Pyle, JA, Townsend-Small, A, al-Shalaan, A, Warwick, N & Zazzeri, G 2020, 'Methane Mitigation: Methods to Reduce Emissions, on the Path to the Paris Agreement', Reviews of Geophysics, vol. 58, no. 1, e2019RG000675, pp. 1-51.

Explore Royal Holloway

Get help paying for your studies at Royal Holloway through a range of scholarships and bursaries.

There are lots of exciting ways to get involved at Royal Holloway. Discover new interests and enjoy existing ones.

Heading to university is exciting. Finding the right place to live will get you off to a good start.

Whether you need support with your health or practical advice on budgeting or finding part-time work, we can help.

Discover more about our academic departments and schools.

Find out why Royal Holloway is in the top 25% of UK universities for research rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’.

Royal Holloway is a research intensive university and our academics collaborate across disciplines to achieve excellence.

Discover world-class research at Royal Holloway.

Discover more about who we are today, and our vision for the future.

Royal Holloway began as two pioneering colleges for the education of women in the 19th century, and their spirit lives on today.

We’ve played a role in thousands of careers, some of them particularly remarkable.

Find about our decision-making processes and the people who lead and manage Royal Holloway today.