NASA has discovered more than 50 methane “super emitter” zones around the world – ScienceAlert

NASA has discovered more than 50 methane "super emitter" zones around the world - ScienceAlert
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NASA scientists, a instrument To study how dust affects the climate, researchers have identified more than 50 spots around the world that emit more methane, which could help combat the powerful greenhouse gas.

“Limiting methane emissions is key to limiting global warming,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. press release Tuesday.

​”This exciting new development will not only help researchers better identify where methane leaks are coming from, but also provide insight into how they can be quickly addressed.”

NASA’s Survey of the Source of Mineral Dust on the Earth’s Surface (EMIT) designed to understand the effects of airborne dust on climate.

But EMIT, which was installed on the International Space Station in July and can focus on areas as small as a football field, has also shown its ability to detect the presence of methane.

A plume of methane was released into the atmosphere near Tehran, the capital of Iran.
A 4.8 kilometer long methane plume south of Tehran, Iran. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

So far, more than 50 “super emitters” of methane gas have been identified in Central Asia, the Middle East and the southwestern United States, NASA said. Most of them are related to the fossil fuel, waste or agricultural sectors.

Kate Calvin, NASA’s Chief Scientist and Senior Climate Advisor, he said EMIT’s “additional methane detection capability provides an excellent opportunity to measure and monitor greenhouse gases. climate change.”

“Exceeds our expectations”

Methane is responsible for about 30 percent of global temperature increases to date.

Although much less than CO in the atmosphere2, it is about 28 times stronger than a greenhouse gas over a century. Over a 20-year period, it is 80 times stronger.

Methane stays in the atmosphere for only ten years, compared to hundreds and thousands of years for CO2.2.

According to the UN Environment Programme, this sharp reduction in emissions means that it could shave a few tenths of a Celsius off global warming predicted by mid-century and help meet the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global average temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius. can (UNEP).

​”EMIT will potentially find hundreds of superemitters – some of which have previously been detected in airborne, space or ground-based measurements, while others were unknown,” NASA said he said.

Some of the methane plumes detected by EMIT are among the largest ever seen, said Andrew Thorpe, a research technologist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory who leads the EMIT methane effort.

“What we’ve found in the short term is already exceeding our expectations,” Thorpe said he said.

NASA says it has detected a methane plume about 2 miles (3.3 kilometers) long in the Permian Basin, one of the world’s largest oil fields, southeast of Carlsbad, New Mexico.

In Turkmenistan, 12 plumes of oil and gas infrastructure were discovered east of the port city of Hazar on the Caspian Sea.

A methane plume at least 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) long has been detected from a large waste processing complex south of Tehran, NASA said.

© Agence France-Presse

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