Excerpt from eaglecurrent.com
NASA is joining in an effort to have an understanding of the presence of a methane hotspot over the 4 corners area of the United States. How severe is the atmospheric feature?
A methane hotspot hovering over the Four Corners region in the southwestern United States has offered a mystery to scientists due to the fact it was initial seen from space by a satellite managed by the European Space Agency.
The New Mexico Environment Department is among the groups searching into the unusual atmospheric function. The group is sponsoring a forum on April 17 to go over probable environmental ramifications of acquiring fossil fuels by way of the controversial practice of fracking.
“As the science emerges around detection of elevated methane levels in the area, NMED is maintaining a close eye on the data and associated concerns. There is a lot of interest in methane, and this occasion will be a fantastic chance for all of us to listen, discover and ask inquiries,” Richard Goodyear of the New Mexico Atmosphere Division stated.
A group of scientists is gathered at 4 Corners, where New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona and Utah all meet. They are examining the air and ground in an effort to have an understanding of exactly where the methane in the area is emanating from and what dangers it could pose.
“With all the ground-based and airborne resources that the diverse groups are bringing to the region, we have the one of a kind opportunity to unequivocally solve the Four Corners mystery,” mentioned Christian Frankenberg of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
A study published in October 2014 reported methane levels in the Four Corners region as higher than at any other place in the globe. That hotspot of greenhouse gases persisted from at least 2003 to 2009, according to researchers studying the anomaly.
Officials at NASA believe the higher concentrations of methane in the location could be due to methane extraction in the area, largely carried out by fracking. This process entails pumping water, sand and chemicals into otherwise dry wells at high velocities to shatter rock layers, releasing natural gas, mainly composed of methane. Studies have recommended that vast amounts of the greenhouse gas can be released in the course of fracking operations.
Other possibilities for the gas release in the 4 Corners region include things like active coal mines and natural gas seeps. The amount of the environmentally damaging gas seen in the southwestern United States is roughly equivalent to ten percent of all methane released across the nation.
A pair of Twin Otter aircraft, operated by JPL, will soon fly over the region in an effort to much better comprehend how the methane hotspot formed. These airplanes will be equipped with two instruments & the Next-Generation Airborne Visible/Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRISNG) that will very carefully measure the extent of the gas, and the Hyperspectral Thermal Emission Spectrometer (HYTES), designed to recognize sources.
After the trigger of the gas emissions and the extent of the formation is understood, climatologists will be greater in a position to manage release of the greenhouse gas.