Optical remote sensing

Image 1 of 3
Remote sensing at a volcano.
Remote sensing using a drone at a volcano
The tool called "sniffer" by the Great Belt Bridge at sunset.
Measuring gas emissions from volcanoes can make it possible to predict upcoming eruptions.

We focus on the study of the composition of the lower levels of the atmosphere using optical remote sensing methods. 

We develop instruments, measurement strategies and models to tackle a wide range of environmental problems such as air pollution, the status of the ozone layer, and emission and transport of gases from anthropogenic and natural sources.. The work is field oriented and is conducted within strong international cooperation.

Examples of areas in which we operate include the development of methods to measure:

  • gas emissions from volcanoes
  • air pollution in megacities
  • industrial gas emissions
  • emission of greenhouse gases from different ecosystems
  • chemical reactions that cause ozone depletion in the stratosphere

Since 1994, we operate a high-resolution infrared measurement station in Harestua, Norway within the global network NDAAC (Network for Detection of Atmospheric Composition Change). The focus since the beginning has been on ozone depleting processes in the stratosphere, but in recent years there has been a shift in interest to validating satellites and studying substances of importance to climate change.

Drawing from our experience in these studies, a new measurement method SOF (Solar Occultation Flux) has been developed. With this method, there are unique opportunities to quantify emissions of a large number of substances from industries, cities and regions. An important area of application for the technology is for the validation of satellites, where the method's ability to integrate both vertically and over considerable horizontal distances is used.

We developed a suite of in-situ and remote sensing instrumentation for measurement of the composition of emissions from ships for international emission control.

We have had a leading role in creating the global Network for Observation of Volcanic and Atmospheric Change, where our ultraviolet spectrometric instruments are used in more than 50 volcanoes around the world to quantify the strength and transport of gas emission from volcanoes. Data from this network is used for volcanic risk assessment, satellite validation and production of global emission inventories.
We developed miniaturized instrumentation for in-situ detection of gases and particles in the atmosphere using a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle), for example from volcanoes or ships.

Senior researchers