NASA Detects: Methane Gas leak from Space


For the first time, an instrument aboard an orbiting spacecraft has calculated the methane emissions from a single, precise leaking facility on Earth's surface. The observation by the Hyperion spectrometer on NASA's Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) is an imperative breakthrough in our ability to eventually determine and monitor emissions of this potent greenhouse gas from space. David R. Thompson of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the US said that the leak occurred over Aliso Canyon close to Porter Ranch in California. The Hyperion instrument successfully detected the methane leak on three detach overpasses during the winter of 2015-16. The research was part of an examination of the large accidental Aliso Canyon methane discharge last winter. Mr. Thompson said that “This is the first time the methane emissions from a single facility have been experiential from space. The journal Geophysical Research Letters, a study team with scientist David R. Thompson of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, detailed the observation, which occurred over Aliso Canyon, near Porter Ranch, California. 

The orbital explanation from Hyperion was reliable with airborne measurements completed by NASA's Airborne/Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS) imager flying onboard a NASA ER-2 aircraft. The percentage of atmospheric methane shaped through human activities remains poorly understood. Future instruments with much greater sensitivity on orbiting satellites can help resolve this question by surveying the biggest sources around the world, so that we can better understand and address this unknown factor in greenhouse gas emissions. Other institutions participating in the revision include Caltech, Pasadena, California; Helmholtz Centre Potsdam, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam, Germany; and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland.