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Trapped Greenhouse Gases Easier to Monitor Due to New Technology


Melting permafrost in the ArcticGreenhouse gases can now be monitored using automated technology that even works underground. This striking innovation has the unique abilities to function regardless of weather conditions and still use minimal power. The creator is Professor David Risk, of St. Francis Xavier University’s (StFX) Department of Earth Sciences.

Risk and his team have been monitoring emissions since 2006 across Antarctica and north Alaska. The sensor called Forced Diffusion Chambers was also placed at Saskatchewan’s Weyburn-Midale CO2 storage site, which is the largest in the world.

The technology was initially developed to measure gas fluxes in natural environments. For difficult to access areas with unknown amounts of stored carbon, such as permafrost regions, the new sensor provides direct measurements of CO2 with much higher confidence.

Currently the team is working on combining the forced diffusion chambers with fibre-optic CO2 sensors. The development of this technology is funded by A Carbon Management Canada. Scientists from five different Canadian universities are collaborating to achieve optimal results. Considering that existing methods include CO2 injections to collect the samples, and secondary wells to monitor concentrations. Fibre optic sensors would be much more cost effective, according to Risk.

When the membrane based housing is joined with the fibre optic sensors, it would be much more accurate and easy to estimate rates.

Risk is an earth scientist with a long-term experience in studying greenhouse gases in the Arctic, who is particularly valuable for the development of the technique.

The diffusion chambers are marketing through Risk’s own company- Forerunner Research

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