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Using Unmanned Air Systems to Monitor Methane in the AtmosphereMethane is likely to be an important contributor to global warming, and our current knowledge of its sources, distributions, and transport is insufficient. It is estimated that there could be from 7.5 to 400 billion tons carbon-equivalent of methane in the arctic region, a broad range that is indicative of the uncertainty within the Earth Science community. Unmanned Air Systems (UASs) are often used for combat or surveillance by the military, but they also have been used for Earth Science field missions. In this study, we will analyze the utility of the NASA Global Hawk and the Aurora Flight Sciences Orion UASs compared to the manned DC-8 aircraft for conducting a methane monitoring mission. The mission will focus on the measurement of methane along the boundaries of Arctic permafrost thaw and melting glaciers. The use of Long Endurance UAS brings a new range of possibilities including the ability to obtain long- term and persistent observations and to significantly augment methane measurements/retrievals collected by satellite. Furthermore, we discuss the future of long endurance UAS and their potential for science applications in the next twenty to twenty-five years.
Document ID
Document Type
Technical Memorandum (TM)
Clow, Jacqueline
(California Univ. Merced, CA, United States)
Smith, Jeremy Christopher
(NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Date Acquired
March 22, 2016
Publication Date
February 1, 2016
Subject Category
Environment Pollution
Aircraft Design, Testing And Performance
Report/Patent Number
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 388496.
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.

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