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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2020-255
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2020-255
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  24 Aug 2020

24 Aug 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

An uncertainty-based protocol for the setup and measurement of soot/black carbon emissions from gas flares using sky-LOSA

Bradley M. Conrad and Matthew R. Johnson Bradley M. Conrad and Matthew R. Johnson
  • Energy and Emissions Research Laboratory, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Carleton University, Ottawa, ON K1S 5B6, Canada

Abstract. Gas flaring is an important source of atmospheric soot/black carbon, especially in sensitive Arctic regions. However, emissions have traditionally been challenging to measure and remain poorly characterized, confounding international reporting requirements and adding uncertainty to climate models. The sky-LOSA optical measurement technique has emerged as a powerful means to quantify flare black carbon emissions in the field, but broader adoption has been hampered by the complexity of its deployment, where decisions during setup in the field can have profound, non-linear impacts on achievable measurement uncertainties. To address this challenge, this paper presents a prescriptive measurement protocol and associated open-source software tool that simplifies acquisition of sky-LOSA data in the field. Leveraging a comprehensive Monte Carlo-based General Uncertainty Analysis (GUA) to predict measurement uncertainties over the entire breadth of possible measurement conditions, general heuristics are identified to guide a sky-LOSA user toward optimal data collection. These are further extended in the open-source software utility, SetupSkyLOSA, which interprets the GUA results to provide detailed guidance for any specific combination of location, date/time, and flare, plume, and ambient conditions. Finally, a case study of a sky-LOSA measurement at an oil and gas facility in Mexico is used to demonstrate the utility of the software tool, where potentially small region(s) of optimal instrument setup are easily and quickly identified. It is hoped that this work will help increase the accessibility of the sky-LOSA technique and ultimately the availability of field measurement data for flare black carbon emissions.

Bradley M. Conrad and Matthew R. Johnson

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Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment

Bradley M. Conrad and Matthew R. Johnson

Model code and software

SetupSkyLOSA: A MATLAB Tool to support Acquisition of Sky-LOSA Data (v1.0) Bradley M. Conrad https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3908587

Bradley M. Conrad and Matthew R. Johnson

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Latest update: 23 Nov 2020
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Short summary
A general uncertainty analysis (GUA) is performed for the sky-LOSA technique used to remotely measure soot emissions from gas flares. GUA data are compiled in an open-source software tool to help sky-LOSA users select critical setup and acquisition parameters while giving quantitative visual feedback on anticipated uncertainties for a specific measurement. The software tool enables easy acquisition of optimal measurement data, significantly increasing the accessibility of the sky-LOSA technique.
A general uncertainty analysis (GUA) is performed for the sky-LOSA technique used to remotely...
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