Tuesday, 29 December 2015

California methane leak is not the only one in the US. The Four Corners region Arizona released 0.59 million metric tons of methane into the atmosphere every year since 2003: And is methane killing marine life along the west coast?

Credit NASA
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.

Related

30,000 waiting to be re-housed in Porter Ranch California due to unstopable methane leak: 62 million cubic feet of methane lost into the atmosphere each day!

There is a bomb underneath you." It's the largest releases of methane in California history: A giant stream of climate-warming methane gas is blowing hundreds of feet into the air in Los Angeles County and no one can stop it!

2 comments:

snufy smith said...

I Have not really heard how the gas is escaping. Is it from a well head, or a ground rupture? If it is coming from a well head, I should thing it can be capped. Where is Red Adaire when we need him...

Gary Walton said...

Update......

More than 2,000 residents of the small town of Porter Ranch, California have been evacuated, reports CBS News, after a torrent of methane gas leaking from a nearby storage facility has inundated the town. "I can't work in here, I can't breathe in here sometimes," music producer Matt Pakucko, who works from his Porter Ranch home, told CBS. "When that wind blows off that hill, it comes down the fire place," said Pakucko. Since October, the gas has been spilling out of a former oil field-turned-storage site owned by Southern California Gas Company at the rate of 70,000 pounds per hour, CBS reports, equal to roughly a quarter of the state's methane emissions. Residents knew something was wrong when they kept getting sick. Headaches, nosebleeds, nausea and other issues were reported by the locals of this town located in the San Fernando Valley region northwest of Los Angeles. At times, they even smelled rotten eggs, some residents told CBS Los Angeles. The leak was confirmed when lawyers filmed the area using an infrared camera, which showed the gas as it hovered over Porter Ranch. Skies were clear at the time of the tests, they said, strengthening their claims. "The video looks like something out of a science fiction horror movie," Brian Panish, one of the lawyers who helped bring the issue to light, told NBC L.A. So far, more than 6,500 families have filed for help, CBS reports, but only 1,700 homes and two schools have been evacuated. The leak is expected to be fixed by March, CBS reports. To fix the problem, the gas company drilled a relief well nearby. Using magnetic technology, workers have located the leaking well more than 3,000 feet below ground. Now they have to drill another 5,000 feet, where they'll intersect the faulty well and pump it with mud, water and cement to stop the leak. "Once the leak is stopped we will be able to evaluate what caused the leak and we will be able to evaluate how much natural gas escaped," said So-Cal gas spokesman Mike Mizrahi. Residents received support from environmental activist Erin Brockovich, who lives just 20 miles southwest in Agoura Hills, the L.A. Daily News reported. She hosted a community meeting that was attended by more than 2,000 Porter Ranch residents who were looking for answers. "I feel compelled to be here and to help my neighbor," she said during the meeting. "I certainly understand your plight and that we all have so much in common." The meeting came just days after Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer said he'd sue the Southern California Gas Company, CBS L.A. reported. He's seeking a judge's order for the gas company to quickly seal the leak that was first reported more than seven weeks ago, the report added. Feuer also wants the company to be fined for releasing a greenhouse gas into the air, which could damage the environment, in addition to sickening residents. But there's also a proposed class-action lawsuit against SoCal Gas from the citizen group Save Porter Ranch, which has stated Feuer's lawsuit wasn't harsh enough, CBS L.A. also reported. "They're being really nice," group president Pakucko told CBS L.A. "We have an environmental disaster here and they're tiptoeing nicely." In the meantime, the leak has made Pakucko so sick, he's had to move out, CBS reports. "It's a new way of life now. We can't live in our homes. I mean, how much worse does it get?"