Ben Hmiel

Post-Doctoral Science Fellow


Areas of expertise:
Paleoclimate, Ice cores, Analytical chemistry, Atmospheric Measurements, Methane emissions, Oil and gas operations

Ben Hmiel is a postdoctoral researcher at EDF focused on the Permian Methane Analysis Project (PermianMAP). This is a new initiative that combines established data collection methods with state-of-the-art technologies to pinpoint, measure and report on oil and gas methane emissions in the Permian Basin, the largest and fastest growing oil and gas producing region of the United States. A key facet of this project involves quantitative real-world measurements of emissions and their rapid publication on a public data portal so that operators, regulators and relevant stakeholders can react swiftly to the recorded observations.


Ben comes to EDF with a background in Paleoclimate, Analytical chemistry, and Numerical data analysis. As part of his doctoral research, he participated in 3 field expeditions to Greenland and one to Antarctica to collect ice core samples which maintain a natural archive of prehistoric air samples by trapping small amount of bubbles in the pore spaces between snow grains. From analyzing the miniscule quantity of Carbon-14 content trapped within polar ice, he was able to determine that the natural quantity of fossil methane emitted to the atmosphere in the preindustrial was likely 10x lower than prior inventory estimates. Consequently, this indicates that the inventory estimates of fossil methane emissions (predominantly from oil, gas and coal extraction and use) are significantly underestimated. This served motivation for his desire to join EDF’s efforts to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas industry.


  • PhD, Geosciences, 2020, University of Rochester
  • MS, Geology, 2015, University of Rochester
  • MS, Chemistry, 2012, University of Rochester
  • BS, Chemistry, 2010, University of Delaware
  • Publications

    • Richardson, S. Conley, M.L. Smith, D.J. Jacob, L. Shen, D.J. Varon, A. Deng, X. Rudelis, N. Sharma, K.T. Story, A.R. Brandt, M. Kang, E.A. Kort, A.J. Marchese, S.P. Hamburg, Concurrent variation in oil and gas methane emissions and oil price during the COVID-19 pandemic, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics,
    • B. Hmiel, V.V Petrenko, M.N. Dyonisius, C. Buizert, A.M. Smith, P.F. Place, C. Harth, R. Beaudette, Q. Hua, B. Yang, I. Vimont, S.E. Michel, J.P. Severinghaus, D. Etheridge, T. Bromley, J. Schmitt, X. Faïn, R.F. Weiss, E.J. Dlugokencky, Preindustrial 14CH4 indicates greater anthropogenic fossil CH4 emissions, Nature. 2020
    • M.N. Dyonisius, V.V. Petrenko, A.M. Smith, Q. Hua, B. Yang, J. Schmitt, J. Beck, B. Seth, M.Bock, B. Hmiel, I. Vimont, J.A. Menking, S.A. Shackleton, D. Baggenstos, T.K. Bauska, R.H. Rhodes, P. Sperlich, R. Beaudette, C. Harth, M. Kalk, E.J. Brook, H. Fischer, J.P. Severinghaus, R.F. Weiss, Old carbon reservoirs were not important in the deglacial methane budget, Science, 2019
    • Mühle, C.M Trudinger, L.M Western, M. Rigby, M.K. Vollmer, S. Park, A.J. Manning, D. Say,Ganesan, L.P Steele, D.J. Ivy, T. Arnold, S. Li, A. Stohl, C.M. Harth, P.K. Salameh, A. McCulloch, S. O'Doherty, M.K. Park, C.O. Jo, D. Young, K.M. Stanley, P.B. Krummel, B. Mitrevski, O. Hermansen, C. Lunder, N. Evangeliou, B. Yao, J. Kim, B. Hmiel, C. Buizert, V.V. Petrenko, J. Arduini, M. Maione, D.M. Etheridge, E. Michalopoulou, M. Czerniak, J.P. Severinghaus, S. Reimann, P.G. Simmonds, P.J. Fraser, R.G. Prinn, R.F. Weiss. Perfluorocyclobutane (PFC-318, c-C4F8) in the global atmosphere. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 2019,