Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, stronger than carbon dioxide on a 20-year timescale, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, though on a century timescale, carbon dioxide is far stronger. "This research suggests significant benefits to slowing climate change could result from reducing industrial methane emissions in parallel with efforts on carbon dioxide," said Ira Leifer, a researcher with UCSB's Marine Science Institute.
This image shows cross-country data superimposed over satellite data from SCIAMACHY and from GOSAT. Satellite data shows positive methane anomalies for the southern US are centered on eastern Texas.
Leifer was joined by two UCSB undergraduate students on the road trip from Los Angeles to Florida, taking a primarily southern route through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, and along the Gulf of Mexico. They used specialized instrumentation, a gas chromatograph, to measure methane. The device was mounted in the RV, with an air ram on the roof that collected air samples from in front of the vehicle."We tried to pass through urban areas during nighttime hours, to avoid being stuck in traffic and sampling mostly exhaust fumes," Leifer said. "Someone was always monitoring the chromatograph, and when we would see a strong signal, we would look to see what potential sources were in the area, and modify the survey to investigate and, if possible, circumnavigate potential sources."
The team analyzed the data in conjunction with researchers at the University of Bremen, Germany, who analyzed inventories and satellite data from the Scanning Imaging Absorption Spectrometer for Atmospheric Chartography (SCIAMACHY) instrument onboard the European Space Agency's (ESA) ENVISAT satellite to confirm the finding of strong methane sources in regions of fossil fuel activity. The surface measurements found methane levels increased as the researchers moved toward Houston, and then decreased as they continued westward –– the same trend observed in satellite data spanning the continent.
Previous methane studies have focused primarily on large-scale airborne data, which were challenging to separate from local sources, according to Leifer. In fact, clear identification of individual sources often could not be conducted, requiring computer models and other surface measurements.
The team compared maps of estimated methane emissions based on data from the International Energy Agency of the U.S. Department of Energy with satellite methane maps. They found that, in some cases, to explain observed higher methane concentrations required higher emissions than current emission maps present, particularly in large regions of fossil fuel industrial activity. In other cases, though, they could rule out that wetlands such as swamps may have been important. In such cases, separating wetland methane contributions from fossil fuel industrial contributions was not possible with their approach, Leifer said, "This is a topic we are investigating further through new research," he added.
"Methane is the strongest human greenhouse gas on a political or short timescale, and also has more bang for the buck in terms of addressing climate change," said Leifer. "This research supports other recent findings suggesting that fugitive emissions from fossil fuel industrial activity actually are the largest methane source. This clearly indicates a need for efforts to focus on reducing these methane emissions."The researchers found the highest methane concentrations in areas with significant refinery activity, and in California in a Central Valley region of oil and gas production. Methane levels near refineries were not uniform, varying greatly from spot to spot and at different times. Nighttime concentrations were dramatically enhanced when the winds died down, forming a calm, shallow atmospheric layer near the surface, according to Leifer.
This study was supported by a National Science Foundation Rapid Response Grant, by NASA and ESA, as well as JAXA, the Japanese Space Agency. Support also came from the Department of Energy, through the Gulf of Mexico Hydrates Research Consortium, the University of Mississippi, the University of Bremen, and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) Space Administration.
According to Leifer, these results illustrate the need for satellite technology to further this type of research and also to provide guidance to decision makers. "We are working with methane data from the Japanese satellite, GOSAT, to continue these investigations," Leifer said. "We look forward to when new tools, like ESA's CarbonSat and NASA's HyspIRI spacecraft, are in orbit to help, as well as results from a new joint NASA/ESA airborne campaign, COMEX, with University of Bremen researchers to improve further methane satellite designs." COMEX will test different airborne remote sensing technologies for application to methane observations.
George Foulsham | EurekAlert!
New insights into the ancestors of all complex life
29.05.2017 | University of Bristol
A 3-D look at the 2015 El Niño
29.05.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Der steigende Bedarf an schneller, leistungsfähiger Datenübertragung erfordert die Entwicklung neuer Verfahren zur verlustarmen und störungsfreien Übermittlung von optischen Informationssignalen. Wissenschaftler der Universität Johannesburg, des Instituts für Angewandte Optik der Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena und des Leibniz-Instituts für Photonische Technologien Jena (Leibniz-IPHT) präsentieren im Fachblatt „Journal of Optics“ eine neue Möglichkeit, glasfaserbasierte und kabellose optische Datenübertragung effizient miteinander zu verbinden.
Dank des Internets können wir in Sekundenbruchteilen mit Menschen rund um den Globus in Kontakt treten. Damit die Kommunikation reibungslos funktioniert,...
The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.
The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...
Staphylococcus aureus ist aufgrund häufiger Resistenzen gegenüber vielen Antibiotika ein gefürchteter Erreger (MRSA) insbesondere bei Krankenhaus-Infektionen. Forscher des Paul-Ehrlich-Instituts haben immunologische Prozesse identifiziert, die eine erfolgreiche körpereigene, gegen den Erreger gerichtete Abwehr verhindern. Die Forscher konnten zeigen, dass sich durch Übertragung von Protein oder Boten-RNA (mRNA, messenger RNA) des Erregers auf Immunzellen die Immunantwort in Richtung einer aktiven Erregerabwehr verschieben lässt. Dies könnte für die Entwicklung eines wirksamen Impfstoffs bedeutsam sein. Darüber berichtet PLOS Pathogens in seiner Online-Ausgabe vom 25.05.2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) ist ein Bakterium, das bei weit über der Hälfte der Erwachsenen Haut und Schleimhäute besiedelt und dabei normalerweise keine...
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physiker der Universität Würzburg können auf Knopfdruck einzelne Lichtteilchen erzeugen, die einander ähneln wie ein Ei dem anderen. Zwei neue Studien zeigen nun, welches Potenzial diese Methode hat.
Der Quantencomputer beflügelt seit Jahrzehnten die Phantasie der Wissenschaftler: Er beruht auf grundlegend anderen Phänomenen als ein herkömmlicher Rechner....
29.05.2017 | Veranstaltungen
29.05.2017 | Veranstaltungen
29.05.2017 | Veranstaltungen