New article on tecnique for tracing subsea CO2 leakage

The article describes a technique that can to be used monitor subsea CO2 sequestration projects. The study describing this has been done as part of FME SUCCESS, the work led by PhD student Helle Botnen.

A research team at the University of Bergen, UNI Research AS and the Bjerknes Centre, has developed a monitoring technique which is thought to be sensitive enough to detect if a fraction of the CO2 stored in the Sleipner subsea storage complex in the North Sea would leak out into the water column and diluted in an area of ​​several thousand square meters.

Natural CO2 seepage, photo: University of Rome

The new study addresses the immense scientific and technological challenge of how to detect and quantify the effect of a leak occurring from a CO2 source under the seabed into the seawater.

This is difficult because the CO2 spreads rapidly by dissolution, dilution and currents in the ocean especially in areas with deeper water column and / or greater water movements and mixing. A new study uses a "process-based monitoring”; a technique where one isolates the signal of subsea CO2 seepage by applying knowledge of (and removing the effect of) all other processes that influence seawater CO2 content of the study area.

 PhD student Helle Botnen

The first study describing this technique, led by PhD student Helle Botnen (photo to the right), has been recently published in the journal Limnology and Oceanography:Botnen, Omar, Thorseth, Johannessen and Alendal (2015): “The effect of submarine CO2 vents on seawater: Implications for detection of subsea carbon sequestration leakage”. Limnology and Oceanography, 60: 402–410




The study is innovative in several respects. Read more in article by Abdir Omar on UNI Climate web page.



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