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Two-thirds of methane coming from just 25 locations out of over 250 newfound sources of methane hot spots
Over 250 sources of a methane hot spot have been discovered by researchers over the Four Corners region of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. The sources include gas wells, storage tanks, pipelines and processing plants.
It is considered that extra methane is the result of leaks during natural gas production. There were very few sources that were from natural seeps and one was found to be from a coal mine. As much as two-thirds of the ejection was from around 25 locations.
Methane does not pose threat to safety or acts as a health concern, but is a contributor to global warming. Methane is considered to be 86 times more powerful for trapping heat for short-term in comparison with carbon dioxide.
It is not the first time when evidence of hot spots has emerged. In 2003 also, the evidence was found and satellite image released in 2014 showed the hot spots in different colors but then their origins were not clear.
In the new study, the researchers were able to detect the hotspots through spectrometers present on aircraft that flew 3,000 to 10,000 feet above the ground over around 1,200 square miles in April 2015 in the Four Corners.
There is a possibility that some spots were being missed because they were too light to be detected by the sensors. As per an environmental group, finding such a number of hotspots is a matter of concern.
“Since this is a problem with natural gas infrastructure, it's a problem that we can fix. Once these leaks are detected by regular inspections, we can go out with a wrench or unstick a plugged valve”, affirmed Jon Goldstein of the Environmental Defense Fund.