Global Satellite Monitoring of Exothermic Industrial Activity via Infrared Emissions
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Global Satellite Monitoring of Exothermic Industrial Activity via Infrared Emissions

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  • Journal Title:
    Remote Sensing
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    This paper reports on the first daily global monitoring program for natural gas flaring and industrial sites producing waste heat based on satellite observed infrared emissions. The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) collects nightly global infrared data in spectral bands ranging from near infrared (NIR) to longwave infrared (LWIR), providing a unique capability to detect and characterize infrared emitters at night. The VIIRS nightfire (VNF) algorithm identifies infrared (IR) emitters with multiple spectral bands and calculates the temperature, source area, and radiant heat via Planck curve fitting and physical laws. VNF data are produced nightly and extend from 2012 to the present. The most common infrared emitter is biomass burning, which must be filtered out. Industrial IR emitters can be distinguished from biomass burning based on temperature and persistence. The initial filtering to remove biomass burning was performed with 15 arc second grids formed from eleven years of VIIRS data, spanning 2012–2022. The locations and shapes of the remaining features were used to guide the generation of super-resolution pixel center clouds. These data clouds were then analyzed to define bounding vectors for single emitters and to split larger clusters into multiple emitters. A total of nearly 20,000 IR emitters were identified; each was assigned an identification number, and the type of emitter was recorded. Nightly temporal profiles were produced for each site, revealing activity patterns back to 2012. Nightly temporal profiles were kept current with weekly updates. Temporal profiles from individual sites were aggregated by country to form monthly profiles extending back to 2012. The nightly and monthly temporal profiles were suitable for analyzing industrial production, identifying disruption events, and tracking recovery. The data could also be used in tracking progress in energy conservation and greenhouse gas emission inventories.
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    Remote Sensing, 15(19), 4760
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    CC BY
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