Project SP16d: Mapping methane emission sources in hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale

Project SP16d: Mapping methane emission sources in hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale

Researcher: Yanni Cao

Position type: Data validation and digitization using GIS

Application deadline: 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Application URL:

Position description

Shale gas development has been accompanied by concerns regarding the overall greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint of this energy source. The leakage rate and leakage location of methane, a powerful green house gas which is 28-36 times more powerful than carbon dioxide in terms of the impacts on global warming, remains highly uncertain. We seek an undergraduate research assistant for a Department of Energy (DOE)-funded research project to validate/digitize methane emission sources from satellite imagery. It is a cutting-edge research project and which was referenced in the President's Climate Action Plan. More details can be find at We have collected some GIS layers for methane sources. Responsibilities will include 1) compare the GIS data (eg. compressor stations and pipelines GIS shapefiles) with Google satellite map or satellite imagery to check if the emissions sources exist or if the locations are correct, and 2) digitize pipelines from satellite imagery (optional). You will get • A better understanding about fracking in PA • Practical experience using GIS and remote sensing images • A good resume-building experience being involved in an interdisciplinary research project No knowledge of methane/natural gas industry is required, but will be a plus.

Desired qualifications

• Completed one of GEOG 361/262/363 with grade of "B" or higher
• Familiar with ArcGIS and google earth
• Self-motivated and responsible
Candidates must be willing to contribute 40–120 total hours of work toward the project over the semester, resulting in 1–3 credit hours applied to the transcript. There is no monetary stipend attached to this assistantship, although the experiences gained in this work will be immediately valuable when applying for graduate school or full-time employment.

To apply

Prospective candidates should complete the application form at by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 13, 2016. Follow all instructions.