As the largest natural gas leak ever recorded is jeopardising health and causing evacuations and panic for thousands of Southern California residents, while the "experts" vainly try to stop the leak as it spews natural gas into the atmosphere at up to 49,895kg per hour, an older leak has been spewing 0.59 million metric tons of methane into the atmosphere every year since 2003.
The Four Corners area (circled above) is the major U.S. hot spot for methane emissions and not the one in Aliso Canyon in California....
A huge area of the Pacific of the west coast of Canada and the US known as, "The Blob" is also thought to be a huge methane leak and could be responsible for the unprecedented loss of marine life there...
An earlier study conducted in October 2014 revealed that methane levels that were found in the Four Corners region were the highest in any location around the world.
Scientists working to pinpoint the source of a giant mass of methane looming over the southwestern United States have been joined by NASA in an attempt to unravel the mystery of the Four Corners region- where Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah collide.
Just last year, a study conducted by the University of Michigan and NASA, which was based on images captured between 2003 and 2009 by a European satellite, found the concentration of methane to be the largest concentration of greenhouse gas in the country. Full story
A Warm blob’ in Pacific Ocean linked to weird weather across the U.S. is thought by many scientists to be linked to an enormous methane leak under the sea and could be responsible for the unprecedented loss of marine life there...
The one common element in recent years is the weather and it's oddness.
The West Coast has been warm and parched; the East Coast has been cold and snowed under.
Fish are swimming into new waters, and hungry seals are washing up on California beaches.
A long-lived patch of warm water off the West Coast, about 1 to 4 degrees Celsius (2 to 7 degrees Fahrenheit) above normal, is part of [a larger pattern driven by the tropical Pacific] that’s wreaking much of this mayhem, according to two University of Washington papers to appear in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union. Full story
The Aliso Canyon methane leak is jeopardising health and causing evacuations for thousands of Southern California residents.
Two months into it, scientists and engineers still can't figure out a way to contain the seeping gas.
It is easily the worst environmental disaster since BP's Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.
Tellingly, some experts who stopped that leak are working to contain this one.
On October 23 the Southern California Gas Company discovered a leak in its natural gas storage facility in Porter Ranch, a neighbourhood about 40km northwest from downtown Los Angeles. Experts don't know what caused it, but believe that a well casing failed deep below the surface.
It will take at least several more months to find the source and repair the leak, which requires careful drilling far from the tank itself to avoid igniting the gas and causing an explosion.
For two months the leak has been spewing natural gas into the atmosphere at up to 49,895kg per hour.
Why is it such a big deal? Although natural gas is a better energy source than coal when it comes to emissions, in its raw form this is the same climate-destroying gas that 195 countries have been trying so hard to keep out of the atmosphere, according to a report by the Environmental Defence Fund, which is tracking the amount of gas leaked in real time:
Methane - the main component of natural gas - is a powerful short-term climate forcer, with over 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide in the first 20 years after it is released.
Methane is estimated to be leaking out of the Aliso Canyon site at a rate of about 62 million standard cubic feet, per day.
That's the same short-term greenhouse gas impact as the emissions from 7 million cars.
That's not just bad news for local residents, who are suffering from headaches and trouble breathing (two schools have been relocated for the 2016 semester), it's potentially devastating on a planetary scale.
A spokesperson for California's Air Resources Board told Mashable the leak is dumping the equivalent of "eight or nine coal plants" worth of methane into our already fragile climate.
The leak itself is invisible but new infrared video shows a jet of gas pluming into the foothills, which hopefully will bring some awareness to the issue.
I admit, even as a Southern California resident I didn't understand the gravity of the situation.
Let's hope that not only the leak can be repaired soon but that the state takes swift action to ensure the safe storage and transportation of natural gas in the future.
Or better yet, switch the state to entirely renewable energy sources, quick.