NASA – New climate discoveries are causing a stir

NASA - New climate discoveries are causing a stir

Scientists at the US space agency (NASA) have installed an instrument on the International Space Station that allows them to study how dust affects the climate. They have now discovered more than 50 places in the world where large amounts of methane are released.

Reducing methane emissions is the key to reducing global warming. This exciting new development will not only help scientists figure out where the methane leak is coming from, but it will also tell us something about how to fix the problem — fast.

Here’s what NASA Administrator Bill Nelson says: In a press release Tuesday this week.

Exceptional results

Initially, the system, Investigating the Source of Earth’s Mineral Surface Dust (EMIT), was to be used to gain a greater understanding of how the particles affect climate. But it has also been shown to detect methane.

New Mexico: Researchers saw a 3-kilometre build-up of methane in New Mexico. Photo: NASa/NPL-Caltech/AFP
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According to NASA, supervehicles are facilities, equipment, or other infrastructure—usually within fossil fuels, waste, or agriculture—that release large amounts of methane.

– These results are exceptional. This will make it easier to find sources of methane and reduce emissions from human activities, says Davis Thompson, NASA’s chief researcher.

More effective than carbon dioxide

Compared to carbon dioxide, methane makes up only a fraction of greenhouse gas emissions, according to NASA. But methane is estimated to be 80 times more efficient, than ton per ton, at trapping heat in the atmosphere.

“Moreover, methane persists for about a decade, which means that if emissions are reduced, the atmosphere will respond in a similar time frame. This slows down warming in the short term.”

Iran: Large accumulations of methane have been discovered in Iran.  Photo: NASa/NPL-Caltech/AFP

Iran: Large accumulations of methane have been discovered in Iran. Photo: NASa/NPL-Caltech/AFP
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Thus, identifying the sources of methane emissions will be key to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. With knowledge of where the main emitting sources are located, operators of facilities, equipment, and infrastructure that emit gases can get to work quickly.

— EMIT will likely find hundreds of ultra-high energy emitters, NASA says in the press release.

More great discoveries

Andrew Thorpe is one of those working in the EMIT group. He says some of the undertakers discovered so far are among the largest ever.

– What we found in such a short time already exceeds our expectations, he says.

Here they meet: The NASA ship orbited on September 27 is the asteroid Demorphos. This may mean that in the future the Earth may be able to save itself from cosmic bodies destined for the planet. Video: AP
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One of the discoveries, a 3.3-kilometre long methane plume, was made southeast of Carlsbad, New Mexico, in the Permian Basin. It is one of the largest oil fields in the world. In Turkmenistan, researchers saw methane clouds extending 32 kilometers from oil and gas infrastructure east of the coastal city of Hazar on the Caspian Sea.

The researchers also saw large amounts of methane gas south of Tehran in Iran. The length of the collection must be at least 4.8 kilometers, and its source is a large garbage collector.

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Dalila Awolowo

Dalila Awolowo

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