Environment Air

The CSIRO is leading a study into air quality in Queensland’s gas fields which includes the collection of data from a network of five ambient air quality monitoring stations located in the Surat Basin.

Improving our knowledge and understanding

The stations located at Hopeland, Miles Airport, Condamine, Burncluith and Tara region collect a range of air quality data including carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, volatile organic compounds (like benzene) and particulates (like dust).

Some of this air quality data is being live streamed via the Department of Environment & Science (DES) website and can be compared to monitoring stations from Brisbane and across the State.

This research by CSIRO, as part of the Gas Industry Social and Environmental Research Alliance (GISERA), will also include an air quality modeling study which will explore the degree to which different emission sources in the Surat Basin contribute to the levels of air pollution.

The model includes a variety of natural and man-made emission sources including the CSG industry, power stations, mines, livestock production, motor vehicles, bushfires, and vegetation.

By running the model with different emission sources switched on and off, the degree of contribution from sources, including the CSG industry can be investigated.

The model will also provide an understanding of the distribution of pollutants over a much larger area than can be determined by fixed monitoring stations.

Both the air quality data and modelling results will be available to inform policy and regulations around CSG development and by industry to focus on improving practices that reduce emissions of pollutants.

Methane research continues

Data on methane concentration in the atmosphere from these monitoring stations in the Surat Basin is also contributing to two other ongoing GISERA research projects.

One of these research projects is looking to identify and measure naturally occurring sources of methane from the landscape including water bodies (known as ‘seeps’) across the Surat Basin. The research will establish a regional baseline of seeps and provide a useful benchmark for accurately measuring any changes in methane levels that might occur as a result of the expanding gas industry.

The second research project, is analysing the whole of life cycle of Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the Surat Basin including identifying and measuring methane from seeps and those arising from gas industry infrastructure (known as ‘fugitive emissions’).

For more information on fugitive methane emissions and the research by GISERA, visit our frequently asked questions page.