Satellites Capture First Images of Nord Stream Methane Leaks

Satellites Capture First Images of Nord Stream Methane Leaks
Satellite analysis has revealed the first images of the massive methane plumes.

Satellite analysis has revealed the first images of the massive methane plumes triggered by the recent explosions on the Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea. 

🚨#BREAKING: An IMEO analysis of satellite images conducted in a partnership between @UNEP and scientists from Universitat Politècnica de València (@UPV) has detected and confirmed for the first time the large methane leak in the rupture of the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline.🧵 pic.twitter.com/10SAY3N78B

— International Methane Emissions Observatory (@CH4Observatory) September 29, 2022

The United Nations’ International Methane Emissions Observatory said on Twitter that analysis conducted with researchers from Universitat Politècnica de València detected methane plumes from Nord Stream that are substantially larger than those identified in a so-called super-emitter event in the Gulf of Mexico last year. That oil and gas installation discharged 40,000 tons of methane, releasing the equivalent of 3% of Mexico’s annual oil and gas emissions in just 17 days. 

The researchers haven’t yet calculated the size of the Nord Stream methane leaks. They said in a tweet that the visual radius of bubbling gas had shrunk from 700 meters wide on Sept. 26 to 520 meters wide on Sept. 29.

🔎Images from the satellite Landsat8 observed today indicate the scale of #MethaneEmissions. From September 26 until September 29, the visual radius of the bubbling had been notably reduced from approx. 700 meters to approx. 520 meters. pic.twitter.com/i4jeUpW3iA

— International Methane Emissions Observatory (@CH4Observatory) September 29, 2022

Officials have identified four leaks on the two Nord Stream pipelines meant to deliver natural gas from Russia to Europe. Several governments have alleged the explosions were deliberate acts of sabotage. Russia has been reducing the amount of gas it sends to most European nations in retaliation for sanctions imposed after its invasion of Ukraine. 

Methane, the largest component of natural gas, is a potent greenhouse gas with 80-times the near-term warming potential of carbon dioxide. Denmark has estimated the pipes would dry up by Sunday. 

--With assistance from Aaron Clark.



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