Climate love

Astor Perkins

30 w

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Climate love

Methane 'super-emitters' on Earth spotted by space station experiment

EMIT has identified more than 50 methane super-emitters in its first few months of operation — and that's not even its main job. A powerful eye in the sky is helping scientists spy "super-emitters" of methane, a greenhouse gas about 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide. That observer is NASA's Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation instrument, or EMIT for short. EMIT has been mapping the chemical composition of dust throughout Earth's desert regions since being installed on the exterior of the International Space Station (ISS) in July, helping researchers understand how airborne dust affects climate. That's the main goal of EMIT's mission. But it's making another, less expected contribution to climate studies as well, NASA officials announced on Tuesday (Oct. 25). The instrument is identifying huge plumes of heat-trapping methane gas around the world — more than 50 of them already, in fact. "Reining in methane emissions is key to limiting global warming. This exciting new development will not only help researchers better pinpoint where methane leaks are coming from, but also provide insight on how they can be addressed — quickly," NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement(opens in new tab). "The International Space Station and NASA's more than two dozen satellites and instruments in space have long been invaluable in determining changes to the Earth's climate," Nelson added. "EMIT is proving to be a critical tool in our toolbox to measure this potent greenhouse gas — and stop it at the source." EMIT is an imaging spectrometer designed to identify the chemical fingerprints of a variety of minerals on Earth's surface. The ability to spot methane as well is a sort of happy accident. "It turns out that methane also has a spectral signature in the same wavelength range, and that's what has allowed us to be sensitive to methane," EMIT principal investigator Robert Green, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California, said during a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.

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  • Tabitha Kimani

    30 w

    The possibility of stopping the emissions at the source is the best.

    • Edwin wangombe

      30 w

      Action should be taken to cut off these emitters

      • Muhammad Fahd Khan

        30 w

        The problem is that despite being spotted, they still have the mind to continue their practices of lying, deviating and PR.

        • Timothy Ndegwa

          30 w

          Nice way of keeping polluters in check!

          • Peter Kamau

            30 w

            Polluting companies should be ware of the eagles eye that's keeping a check on them as they mint millions from destroying the planet. Authorities should take action following this lead.

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