UAV-based methane data from Barter Island, Northern Alaska, September 2017

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Frequently anticipated questions:

What does this data set describe?

UAV-based methane data from Barter Island, Northern Alaska, September 2017
We present methane data from along the coast of Barter Island, Alaska, collected with an Unmanned Aerial System and an off-the-shelf, cost-effective methane sensor. The data were collected on September 3 and September 5, 2017, as part of a larger Arctic coastal erosion investigation study by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The data contain latitude, longitude and CH4 (ppm), and are presented as tab-delimited text files that have been zipped into one file. In addition, we have included one file of comparative data from Barrow, Alaska that were collected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Global Monitoring Division from 1986-2017 as a courtesy to users. The three datasets together accompany Oberle, F.K.J., Gibbs, A.E., Richmond, B.M., Erikson, L.H., Waldrop, M.P., and Swarzenski, P.W., 2019, Towards determining spatial methane distribution on Arctic permafrost bluffs with an unmanned aerial system: SN Applied Sciences,
Any use of trade, product, or firm names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. Users are expected to read the original metadata for the NOAA dataset at the ftp site provided in the Source Information section of this metadata.
  1. How might this data set be cited?
    Oberle, Ferdinand, K.J., 2019, UAV-based methane data from Barter Island, Northern Alaska, September 2017: data release DOI:10.1594/PANGAEA.898636, U.S. Geological Survey, Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center, Santa Cruz, California.

    Online Links:

  2. What geographic area does the data set cover?
    West_Bounding_Coordinate: -156.611400
    East_Bounding_Coordinate: -143.647148
    North_Bounding_Coordinate: 71.323000
    South_Bounding_Coordinate: 70.132331
  3. What does it look like?
  4. Does the data set describe conditions during a particular time period?
    Beginning_Date: 1986
    Ending_Date: 2017
    ground condition
  5. What is the general form of this data set?
    Geospatial_Data_Presentation_Form: tabular digital data in text format
  6. How does the data set represent geographic features?
    1. How are geographic features stored in the data set?
      This is a Point data set.
    2. What coordinate system is used to represent geographic features?
      Horizontal positions are specified in geographic coordinates, that is, latitude and longitude. Latitudes are given to the nearest 3.0E-5. Longitudes are given to the nearest 8.0E-5. Latitude and longitude values are specified in Decimal degrees.
  7. How does the data set describe geographic features?, and
    Tables containing results from analyses of Unmanned Aerial Methane Laser Surveys. (Source: Producer defined)
    Consecutive numbers for each CH4 (PPM) measurement location (Source: Producer defined) Consecutive numbers
    Latitude (Source: based on Unmanned Aerial System GPS)
    Range of values
    Units:decimal degrees
    Longitude (Source: based on Unmanned Aerial System GPS)
    Range of values
    Units:decimal degrees
    CH4 [ppmv]
    concentration of methane normalized to Parts Per Million of volume [ppmv]. (Source: standard reporting value in atmospheric chemistry)
    Range of values
    Units:Parts Per Million (volume)
    Table containing methane measurements collected by NOAA near Barrow, Alaska. Users are advised to read the original metadata provided by NOAA at (Source: Producer defined)
    Date only in YYYY-MM format (Source: NOAA)
    Range of values
    Units:monthly average
    Latitude (Source: NOAA)
    Range of values
    Units:decimal degrees
    Longitude (Source: NOAA)
    Range of values
    Units:decimal degrees
    CH4 [ppmv]
    concentration of methane normalized to Parts Per Million of volume [ppmv]. (Source: standard reporting value in atmospheric chemistry)
    Range of values
    Units:Parts Per Million (volume)

Who produced the data set?

  1. Who are the originators of the data set? (may include formal authors, digital compilers, and editors)
    • Oberle, Ferdinand, K.J.
  2. Who also contributed to the data set?
    Fish and Wildlife Services for their local support. C. Johnson and T. Lorenson (USGS) for assistance with instrument deployment and data collection. The International Atomic Energy Agency is grateful for the support provided to its Environment Laboratories by the Government of the Principality of Monaco.
  3. To whom should users address questions about the data?
    U.S. Geological Survey, Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center
    Attn: PCMSC Science Data Coordinator
    2885 Mission Street
    Santa Cruz, CA

    831-427-4747 (voice)

Why was the data set created?

Arctic permafrost stores vast amounts of methane (CH4) in subsurface reservoirs. Thawing permafrost creates areas for this potent greenhouse gas to be released to the atmosphere. Identifying 'hot spots' of methane flux on a local scale has been limited by the spatial scales of traditional ground-based or satellite-based methane-sampling methods.

How was the data set created?

  1. From what previous works were the data drawn?
    NOAA_data (source 1 of 1)
    Dlugokencky, Edward J., Crotwell, Molly, Lang, Patricia M., Mund, John, and Rhodes, M.E., 2018, Atmospheric methane dry air mole fractions from quasi-continuous measurements at Barrow, Alaska, and Mauna Loa, Hawaii, 1986-2017: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, online.

    Online Links:

    Type_of_Source_Media: online database
    A subset of data from the NOAA online database were included in this data release as a courtesy to users that wish to make comparisons with the USGS-collected data
  2. How were the data generated, processed, and modified?
    Date: 2018 (process 1 of 2)
    Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Methane Laser surveys were conducted by the USGS along the coastal bluff of Barter Island, Alaska, on September 3 and 5, 2017. The methane data were recorded using a Pergam Methane mini G (SA3C50A) sensor. Each day of data are presented in separate files in tab-delimited DAT format. A third tab-delimited file includes methane data from Barrow, Alaska, collected by NOAA from 1986-2017, a subset of the dataset provided by Dlugokencky and others (2018). Data sources used in this process:
    • NOAA_data
    Date: 19-Oct-2020 (process 2 of 2)
    Edited metadata to add keywords section with USGS persistent identifier as theme keyword. No data were changed. Person who carried out this activity:
    U.S. Geological Survey
    Attn: VeeAnn A. Cross
    Marine Geologist
    384 Woods Hole Road
    Woods Hole, MA

    508-548-8700 x2251 (voice)
    508-457-2310 (FAX)
  3. What similar or related data should the user be aware of?

How reliable are the data; what problems remain in the data set?

  1. How well have the observations been checked?
    No formal attribute accuracy tests were conducted
  2. How accurate are the geographic locations?
    The GPS system has a horizontal dilution of precision (HDOP) of 0.6 inside the UAV. It captures European (Galileo), Russian (GLONASS), and North American (GPS) positional information, resulting in positional accuracy of approximately 2.5 m.
  3. How accurate are the heights or depths?
    No formal positional accuracy tests were conducted
  4. Where are the gaps in the data? What is missing?
    Data set is considered complete for the information presented, as described in the abstract. Users are advised to read the rest of the metadata record carefully for additional details.
  5. How consistent are the relationships among the observations, including topology?
    No formal logical accuracy tests were conducted

How can someone get a copy of the data set?

Are there legal restrictions on access or use of the data?
Access_Constraints: none
USGS-authored or produced data and information are in the public domain from the U.S. Government and are freely redistributable with proper metadata and source attribution. Please recognize and acknowledge the U.S. Geological Survey as the originator of the original dataset and in products derived from these data. Citation information for the third dataset from NOAA, a subset of which is provided here as a courtesy for those users that wish to make comparisons, may be found in the Source Information section of the metadata and should be acknowledged accordingly if used.
  1. Who distributes the data set? (Distributor 1 of 1)
    Pangea - Data Publisher for Earth & Environmental Science
    PANGAEA c/o Alfred-Wegener-Institut
    Bremerhaven, Bremen, Germany

    +4947148310 (voice)
  2. What's the catalog number I need to order this data set? OberleF_2019 is a zip file containing three tab-delimited DAT files of data (,, and
  3. What legal disclaimers am I supposed to read?
    Unless otherwise stated, all data, metadata and related materials are considered to satisfy the quality standards relative to the purpose for which the data were collected. Although these data and associated metadata have been reviewed for accuracy and completeness and approved for release by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), no warranty expressed or implied is made regarding the display or utility of the data on any other system or for general or scientific purposes, nor shall the act of distribution constitute any such warranty.
  4. How can I download or order the data?
    • Availability in digital form:
      Data format: zip file (OberleF_2019) containing three tab-delimited DAT files of data (,, and in format tab-delimited text (version Excel 14.3.9) .dat Size: 0.245
      Network links:
    • Cost to order the data: None.

  5. What hardware or software do I need in order to use the data set?
    These data can be viewed with Microsoft Excel or any text reader

Who wrote the metadata?

Last modified: 19-Oct-2020
Metadata author:
U.S. Geological Survey, Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center
Attn: PCMSC Science Data Coordinator
2885 Mission Street
Santa Cruz, CA

831-427-4747 (voice)
Metadata standard:
Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata (FGDC-STD-001-1998)

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