Technique improves ability to detect subsurface carbon dioxide leaks


  • Colin Schultz


One method to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations is geologiccarbon sequestration, often referred toas carbon capture and storage (CCS). In CCS, carbon dioxide is stored within stable geologic formations deep underground. Part of implementing CCS involves monitoring for unusual carbon dioxide emissions that could indicate a leak. Currently, monitoring requires a long-term assessment so that researchers can identify the range of variability for natural carbon dioxide emissions, in which shifts are driven by seasonal changes. Traditional monitoring methods falter when tasked with identifying a leak for a storage site without a background record or with finding a small leak, which could be swamped by the naturally varying emissions.