Space

Methane ‘Super-Emitters’ Mapped by NASA’s New Earth Space Mission

By Aazam

October 27, 2022

NASA's Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation (EMIT) programme is mapping critical minerals in dust-producing deserts to better understand airborne dust's climate consequences

The International Space Station and NASA's more than two dozen satellites and equipment have long helped track climate change

EMIT is helping us quantify and eliminate this powerful greenhouse gas

Methane has a distinctive spectral fingerprint that EMIT's imaging spectrometer can detect

This unique feature will improve methane source attribution and human activity mitigation

Methane accounts for a small percentage of human-caused greenhouse-gas emissions, yet it traps heat 80 times better than carbon dioxide in the atmosphere 20 years after release

Methane lasts roughly a decade, but carbon dioxide lasts generations, so reducing emissions will limit near-term warming

Operators of gas-emitting plants, equipment, and infrastructure can swiftly reduce emissions by knowing where significant emitters are

The mission's study area matches global methane hotspots, allowing researchers to evaluate the imaging spectrometer's methane detection capabilities

EMIT found 12 oil and gas infrastructure plumes east of Hazar, Turkmenistan. Some fumes reach 20 miles westward

A massive waste-processing complex south of Tehran, Iran, produced a 3-mile-long methane plume

The JPL-developed Carbon Plume Mapper (CPM) detects methane and carbon dioxide