Interactive Map Detects Gas Flaring Volume Worldwide
SkyTruth has built on NOAA’s work in estimating natural gas flaring volume by creating an interactive map showing individual flaring locations as identified by NOAA’s Earth Observation Group (EOG).
Flaring – the method of burning off the unwanted natural gas in massive, open flames – is a chronic practice in oil fields around the world. While flaring can be a safety measure used to avoid buildup of explosive gases, it often indicates the operator has concluded the cost of building a pipeline for the gas exceeds the value of the lost revenue. If this gas was captured or used to produce electricity on-site, this wasted energy could supplement the electrical grid without burning coal and ease the market demand that drives the drilling and fracking of shale-gas wells elsewhere.
Why are site-specific estimates important? Besides providing knowledge of the locations and magnitudes of greenhouse gas emissions, gas flaring has been shown to affect wildlife, public health, and even agriculture negatively.
SkyTruth’s map makes site data available over virtually any Area of Interest (AOI). As of November 2017, the dataset includes annual estimates for years 2012 through 2016.
With a few clicks, the SkyTruth map lets you:
- Visually see the location of each flaring site
- Click for details from the EOG dataset
- Identify custom Area of Interests (AOI) by either drawing on the map, selecting a range of preloaded AOIs (Country, State, County, Province, Federal Lands), or uploading your own GeoJSON file
- Download flaring data that falls within any AOI
You can view this map yourself at https://viirs.skytruth.org/apps/heatmap/flarevolume.html.
A description of how EOG estimates flaring volume is detailed in this paper. Details of the nightfire algorithm that detects hot sources from the VIIRS instrument can be found in this paper.