NASA Flew Gas Detectors Above California, Found ‘Super Emitters’

Over the course of three years, NASA flew a plane carrying gas-imaging equipment above California and made a discovery that surprised even the state’s own environmental agencies: A handful of operations are responsible for the vast majority of methane emissions. In a report published in Nature on Wednesday, scientists estimated that 10% of the places releasing methane — including landfills, natural gas facilities and dairy farms — are responsible for more than half of the state’s total emissions. And a fraction of the 272,000 sources surveyed — just 0.2% — account for as much as 46%. The report doesn’t identify these “super emitters,” but notes that landfills give off more methane than any other source in the state.


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