New Satellite could help identify Methane polluters

As we all know, other than carbon dioxide, Methane is the second gas that has been known to cause climate change. Methane is a heavy hitter and has a heat-trapping ability far much higher than that of carbon dioxide (it is said to be 25 times higher), over a period of a century.

Methane is as well the second most plentiful greenhouse gas carbon dioxide holding the first position. Slowing down Methane emissions could bring a great difference in terms of limiting the effects of huge climate change. To deal with this the environment Defense Fund abbreviated as EDF has come up with an idea of playing a little “I Spy” kind of trick.

The Environment Defense Fund has settled on launching a satellite in less than three years from now that will specifically smoke out methane leaks from our atmosphere. This is according to a reported released by NPR. According to research done, Methane leaks in our environment can be human caused which is often from gas and oil operations or it might be caused by natural wetlands. another notable source of Methane is byproducts of cows.

Tracking down Methane emissions will definitely not be an easy task to sans-satellites, since the emitted gas spreads as it rises. This makes air and ground measurements patchy. Experts who reported to NPR confirmed that inspections of gas and oil on the ground operations may be unable to detect these leaks since many companies hide them every time they know there is an arranged inspection.

The puzzle now is “Will the set satellite be in a position of delivering more information than the already available detection methods?” The currently available satellites in the atmosphere are able to measure methane but they paint a blurry picture which makes it hard for the experts to find the sources of the gas.

There is great hope that the MethaneSAT, as this satellite will be called will be in a position of pinpointing an individual oil well or farm from where the gas will be leaking from. However, this might be a challenge since the satellite will not be necessarily high-resolution enough to do so.

On the other hand, the EDF is giving assurance that the satellite will be able to track methane over a period of time. This will help in leading the inspectors to the right place.