Publication Date




Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Ecosystem Science and Policy (Graduate)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Kenneth Broad

Second Committee Member

Peter K. Swart

Third Committee Member

Felix Mormann

Fourth Committee Member

Milica Mormann

Fifth Committee Member

Daniel D. Riemer


Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies have both potential economic benefits and potential climate change mitigation impacts. However, CCS is not without physical and perceptual risks. In this dissertation, I followed two parallel research tracks regarding potential leakage of carbon dioxide out of CCS storage reservoirs. I completed three technical projects using data from the global-to-local level. First, I used Bayesian modeling to understand the potential for a surface release of carbon dioxide. These models allowed me to conclude that discrete, large-volume events are unlikely but not impossible events and draw similar risk conclusions as research from other disciplines. Second, I conducted a review to characterize a University of Miami research study site in southeast Texas. This review allowed me to use commercially available modeling software to understand potential subsurface behavior at a known CCS site. This project gave our research team an initial understanding of the study site geochemistry and geomechanics. Third, I used location-specific data to assess if current monitoring, measurement, and verification technologies have the ability to detect changes in surface carbon dioxide measurements at a continuously monitored site. This project allowed me to analyze ten months of measurement data for potential leak events and understand the value of monitoring and verification technologies for event detection and risk mitigation. In parallel to these technical projects, I engaged in a series of qualitative research projects. In one project, I was able to investigate the general perception of CCS risks in the United States and analyze if opinions and knowledge of hydraulic fracturing impacted the general perception of CCS. In a second project, a literature review, I synthesized the current state of CCS knowledge and deployment in the United States. In my last project, I provided commentary on emerging concepts in the CCS space. Taken together, the six projects that comprised this dissertation provided me an understanding of the implementation practices, CCS site technologies, physical risks, and perceptual risks that influence the formation and maintenance of a law of the underground.


carbon capture and storage; perception of CCS; CCS site monitoring and evaluation