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Workshop: Tackling Climate Change with Machine Learning

Guided Transformer Network for Detecting Methane Emissions in Sentinel-2 Satellite Imagery

Satish Kumar · William Kingwill · Rozanne Mouton · Wojciech Adamczyk · Robert Huppertz · Evan Sherwin


Methane (CH_4) is the chief contributor to global climate change and its mitigation is targeted by the EU, US and jurisdictions worldwide~\cite{methane-reduction}. Recent studies have shown that imagery from the multi-spectral instrument on Sentinel-2 satellites is capable of detecting and estimating large methane emissions. However, most of the current methods rely on temporal relations between a ratio of shortwave-infrared spectra and assume relatively constant ground conditions, and availability of ground information on when there was no methane emission on site. To address such limitations we propose a guided query-based transformer neural network architecture, that will detect and quantify methane emissions without dependence on temporal information. The guided query aspect of our architecture is driven by a Sentinel Enhanced Matched Filter (SEMF) approach, also discussed in this paper. Our network uses all 12 spectral channels of Sentinel-2 imagery to estimate ground terrain and detect methane emissions. No dependence on temporal data makes it more robust to changing ground and terrain conditions and more computationally efficient as it reduces the need to process historical time-series imagery to compute a single date emissions analysis.

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