Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Measuring natural methane emissions from bogs using drones in Alaska B-Roll

Right-click and save to download

Detailed Description

Permafrost is ground that has been frozen for at least two years. With the warming climate, permafrost across Alaska is thawing and greenhouse gases such as methane are released as a result. Ecologist Kristen Manies of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center (GMEGSC) is studying methane emissions as permafrost forests transition to bogs or wetlands. At the Bonanza Creek Experimental Forest in Fairbanks, Alaska, the USGS National Uncrewed Systems Office (NUSO) flew an uncrewed aircraft system (UAS) equipped with a methane-sensing payload at various altitudes over a bog in support of Manies’ research in August, 2022.

00:05 USGS personnel hike gear through a forest.

00:18 After the forest, the trail becomes a network of boardwalks for scientists to navigate the wet, squishy bog site.

00:30 Joe Adams (NUSO) carries a large, square piece of wood across the boardwalks to use as a takeoff/landing pad for drone flights.

00:41 Kristen Manies (GMEGSC) secures a methane sensor onto a UAS.

00:51 Two drones sit on their landing pads amongst the boardwalks.

00:56 From the smaller drone’s perspective, we see what it looks like to take off and fly upwards above the bog.

01:08 The smaller drone flies towards its operators, Joe Adams and Victoria Scholl (NUSO). The drone increases its altitude, then turns around and flies in the opposite direction to practice the flight pattern that will later be flown by the larger drone to measure methane.

01:39 The larger drone flies in patterns planned by its operators over the bog while collecting methane measurements.

02:51 Scenic drone footage of the bog site featuring scientific monitoring equipment installed there.

03:43 Kristen Manies checks on scientific data being collected at a tower, then walks across the boardwalk towards large solar panels.

04:19 From the smaller drone’s perspective, we see what it looks like to descend back down to the wooden landing pad after a flight.




Public Domain.