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A Third of California Methane Traced to a Few Super-Emitters

06 November 2019

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NASA scientists are helping California create a detailed, statewide inventory of methane point sources - highly concentrated methane releases from single sources - using a specialized airborne sensor. The new data, published this week in the journal Nature, can be used to target actions to reduce emissions of this potent greenhouse gas.

Like carbon dioxide, methane traps heat in the atmosphere, but it does so more efficiently and for a shorter period of time. Scientists estimate that most methane emissions in California are driven by industrial facilities, such as oil and gas fields, large dairies and landfills. To help reduce methane's impact on climate, the state has made cutting human-caused emissions a priority. But in order to cut these hard-to-detect emissions, they have to be measured and the sources identified.

Source: JPL

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech: Views from NASA's Methane Source Finder, a tool that provides methane data for the state of California.