Using satellite data to help quantify Scottish greenhouse gas emissions
In line with the Paris Agreement, Scotland has committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2045. To help meet this target, accurate and frequently updated knowledge of human-driven emissions is required, and robust monitoring is essential if we are to verify progress. At present, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for Scotland are published annually, approximately 18 months after the period to which they relate. The current approach combines annual production and usage statistics with estimates of how much carbon is emitted per unit measure of production and usage. An alternative approach is to look to the atmosphere. This study examines how satellite observations of the atmosphere could be used to build on existing modelling efforts and report GHG emissions well in advance of the present estimates. In this report, we describe the software we have developed to download and interpret publicly available satellite observations of tropospheric NO2, as a proxy for fossil fuel emissions of CO2 (ffCO2). The observations cover three spatial areas: onshore Scotland; the Scottish zone of the UK continental shelf; and the subset of the Scottish zone corresponding to the location of oil and gas platforms.