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Discussion papers
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: data description paper 25 Jul 2019

Submitted as: data description paper | 25 Jul 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Earth System Science Data (ESSD).

Gas flaring activity and black carbon emissions in 2017 derived from Sentinel-3A SLSTR

Alexandre Caseiro1, Berit Gehrke1, Gernot Rücker2, David Leimbach2, and Johannes W. Kaiser1,3 Alexandre Caseiro et al.
  • 1Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany
  • 2Zebris GbR, Munich, Germany
  • 3Deutscher Wetterdienst, Offenbach, Germany

Abstract. Gas flares are a regionally and globally significant source of atmospheric pollutants. They can be detected by satellite remote sensing. We calculate the global flared gas volume and black carbon emissions in 2017 by (1) applying a previously developed hot spot detection and characterisation algorithm to all observations of the Sea and Land Surface Temperature Radiometer (SLSTR) instrument on-board the Copernicus satellite Sentinel-3A in 2017 and (2) applying newly developed filters for identifying gas flares and corrections for calculating flared gas volumes (Billion Cubic Meters, BCM) and black carbon emission estimates. The filter to discriminate gas flares from other hot spots combines the unique flaring characteristics in terms of persistence and temperature. The comparison of our results with those of the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) nightfire data set indicates a good fit between the two methods. The calculation of black carbon emissions using our gas flaring data set and published emission factors show good agreement with recently published black carbon inventories. The data presented here can therefore be used e.g. in atmospheric dispersion simulations. The advantage of using our algorithm with Sentinel-3A data lies in the previously demonstrated ability to detect and quantify small flares and the foreseen long term data availability from the Copernicus program. Our data (GFlaringS3, flaring activity and the related black carbon emissions) are available on the Emissions of atmospheric Compounds and Compilation of Ancillary Data (ECCAD) web site (, DOI (Caseiro and Kaiser, 2019)) for use in, e.g., atmospheric composition modelling studies.

Alexandre Caseiro et al.
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Alexandre Caseiro et al.
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Global Gas Flaring activity and Black Carbon emissions A. Caseiro and J. Kaiser

Alexandre Caseiro et al.
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Short summary
Gas flaring is a global phenomenon with local, regional and global environmental impacts. The present knowledge on gas flaring activity and emissions lacks consistency.Satellite remote sensing offers the possibility of a global and consistent coverage of gas flares. In this work, we present the application of a previously published method to the detection and characterisation of gas flares globally. We derive the volumes of gas flared and their respective black carbon emissions.
Gas flaring is a global phenomenon with local, regional and global environmental impacts. The...