Debra Wunch

Debra Wunch

Physics, School of the Environment


Research Focus: Measurements and Modelling


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Research Projects

Validating Satellite Measurements of Urban Emissions

“Currently working with Professor Debra Wunch and her team on quantifying greenhouse gas emissions in the GTA. We are looking into data from various ground-based and satellite sensors to determine the distribution of emissions over Toronto, ensure that the city is on track to meet its environmental goals, and to investigate the existence of relationships between site demographics and emission levels.”

Mobile Methane Measurements Across Toronto

Methane is a greenhouse gas that has 28 times the global warming potential of CO2 over the first 100 years of entering the atmosphere. Reducing methane emissions will therefore have an immediate impact on climate change. To this end, correctly quantifying methane emissions is a crucial step towards slowing the earth's heating rate. For my summer project, I am identifying, measuring, and analyzing atmospheric methane concentrations across Toronto using a mobile survey system, planning routes in an equitable manner over diverse neighborhoods. For this project, I ride a bicycle with the mobile system attached around different areas and publish the data to a public website. In one of my rides around Ashbridges Bay, I identified a plume close to the main sewage treatment plant. Finding places such as this will help identify methane emitters and allow the City of Toronto to better focus its future policies and efforts on methane emission reduction to ensure a net-zero future for all.

Estimation of the city’s vegetation to the carbon footprint

“I am a 3rd year direct-entry PhD student in the Department of Physics and I am a member of the Wunch research group. My research focuses on investigating fluxes of carbon dioxide to and from vegetation within the Greater Toronto Area using measurements of solar induced fluorescence (light emitted by plants during photosynthesis) and vegetation models. I will also use satellite and ground-based measurements of carbon dioxide with the estimated fluxes from vegetation to obtain a better estimate of both Toronto’s anthropogenic and biogenic carbon dioxide emissions. In the future, I plan to apply this method to other urban areas within Canada.”

Monitoring Methane Enhancement Ratios over Cities

Jon-Paul is a PhD candidate in the Department of Physics under the supervision of Prof. Debra Wunch. His research focuses on estimating anthropogenic methane emissions using satellite measurements. He is developing a new data-driven technique for inferring emissions from cities by leveraging coincident measurements of other greenhouse gases. He is also investigating regional methane fluxes in Southern Ontario with chemical transport modelling and inversions of satellite observations.