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Big Climatic Hazards have been Discovered by Satellites: Methane Ultra-Emitters

Methane gas is 80 times more effective compared to carbon dioxide at trapping & warming the atmosphere. A lot of methane is coming out of the ground, and it’s doing it constantly. Sites, where oil and gas drilling is taking place have some of the worst leaks. The pipes that transport these fossil fuels can also be major leaks. However, the worst methane leaks have proved difficult to locate. Researchers are able to locate them with the help of satellites which act as a kind of aerial surveillance system.

It is possible for an “ultra-emitter” to release at least 25 metric tons of methane into the atmosphere every hour. Some are capable of releasing 500 metric tonnes per hour (or 550 U.S. tonnes).

Stopping all of these large leaks would be equivalent to removing 20 million cars off the road for a year in terms of positive impact on the environment. Thomas Lauvaux, who conducted the new study estimates that such a change may save billions of dollars. At France’s University of Paris-Saclay studied climate change and global warming in great depth. His research was published in Science on February 4.

Methane leaks are difficult to find since the gas emanates from so many sources. Some water is drained from the ground through natural seeps. Burps from cows are no exception. But human-made sources, such as oil and gas pipelines, had looked to account for a large portion of the increase in rainfall. 

According to Lauvaux, the Oil and gas production trouble and spills can cause massive methane explosions. However, this isn’t always the case. Shutting down a pipeline for days to clear off the gas can be necessary. To make things simpler for themselves, many managers choose a less effective strategy. “Flaring” is a term used to describe the process of attempting to burn off the gas in a pipeline by opening both ends of it. However, there is still a significant amount of gas that may escape.

Large sources had been located for the use of planes. However, their capabilities are limited to quick scans of small regions. According to Lauvaux and his team, satellites can monitor far bigger areas for months or years at a time. As a result, they looked to photographs taken from space in the years 2019 and 2020. Six nations accounted for the majority of the 1800 largest methane sources seen in these photos. Turkmenistan came out on top in this ranking. The United States, Iran, Kazakhstan, and Algeria rounded out the top five. Russia came in last.

In Euan Nisbet’s opinion, fixing the major leaks would significantly reduce worldwide methane emissions. Geochemist at Royal Holloway, University of London, in London, England. Like “If you see someone critically hurt, you bandage up the portions that are bleeding the hardest,” he says.

The latest study used photos captured by a device known as TROPOMI (short for Tropospheric Monitoring Instrument). A European Space Agency (ESA) spacecraft is transporting it. Lauvaux said that some of the photographs show two huge plumes of flare along a pipeline route.

WORDS OF STRENGTH:

Atmosphere: The outer layer of gasses that surrounds the Earth. Another planet, or a moon, is known as the atmosphere.

Carbon Dioxide: Oxygen in the air combines with carbon-rich meals to generate carbon dioxide, a colorless, odorless gas produced by all creatures as a byproduct. When organic stuff burns, carbon dioxide is also emitted (including fossil fuels like oil or gas). In the Earth’s atmosphere, carbon dioxide serves as a greenhouse gas, trapping heat. During photosynthesis, plants convert carbon dioxide into oxygen, which they utilize to produce their own sustenance.

Climate: A region’s climate may be defined as the average or long-term weather conditions in that region.

Fossil Fuels: It includes coal, petroleum (crude oil), and natural gas derived from the decomposition of microbes, plants, and animals over millions of years.

Greenhouse gas: It is one that absorbs heat and contributes to the greenhouse effect. A greenhouse gas such as carbon dioxide is one such example.

Mass: How much a thing resists speeding up and slowing down – a measure of how much matter that object contains.

Methane:  Satellites, A hydrocarbon having the molecular formula CH4 that is used to describe methane (meaning there are four hydrogen atoms bound to one carbon atom). In natural gas, it’s a naturally occurring component. Cows and other ruminant livestock also expel it, as does decaying plant material in wetlands. The heat-trapping ability of methane is 20 times greater than that of carbon dioxide, making it an extremely significant greenhouse gas.

Plume: a single, big feather in biology A gas or liquid moving under the influence of gravity, winds, or currents (as in environmental science). Any of the three are possible locations for it to be found. Its name derives from the fact that it has the appearance of a long, delicate feather. It is a geological term that describes fluids that travel vast distances in a feather-like pattern.

Satellite: A manmade object or a moon in orbit around a planet or other celestial body is referred to as a satellite.

Summit: The highest point of a mountain or hill, or the process of ascending and attaining that point of the peak. When it comes to the realm of public policy, It is a gathering of officials from a certain institution or government to discuss new policies, rules, or treaties.

Tropics: The area around the equator of the planet. The climate is mild to hot throughout the year.

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