Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

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Methane cloud hunting

Los Alamos researchers go hunting for methane gas over the Four Corners area of northwest New Mexico and find a strange daily pattern.
July 12, 2015
methane map

Methane, the primary component of natural gas, is also a potent greenhouse gas, trapping energy in the atmosphere. Last year NASA released satellite images showing a hot spot in the area where New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Arizona meet, prompting scientists to go in search of the sources.

Science on the Hill: Methane cloud hunting

by Manvendra Dubey

When our team from Los Alamos National Laboratory went hunting for methane gas in the atmosphere over the Four Corners area of northwest New Mexico, we found a strange daily pattern. The regional methane concentrations leapt higher every morning before tapering off. But the biggest surprise was how much methane emissions we found — two times more than estimates by the Environmental Protection Agency and three times greater than in international emissions inventories.

This article first appeared in the Santa Fe New Mexican.