Monday, January 4, 2016

Data Reveals Climate Impacts of the Gigantic, Ongoing Gas Leak in California

From:  Blog EDF


Aliso CanyonLast week, it appeared that the Southern California Gas Company was close to containing the flow of natural gas coming from a monster leak at its Aliso Canyon storage field in Northridge, California.  Now, four weeks after it started, the leak persists, and data released Friday, from the California Air Resources Board shows that the uncontrolled emissions of methane, the primary component of natural gas, is having significant climate change impacts in addition to affecting public health.

Using data collected from airplanes flying near the leak site, and supported by data gathered from vehicles, satellites and nearby air monitoring platforms, the Air Board’s initial estimates show the rupture at Aliso Canyon has released methane gas with an estimated warming impact over the next 20 years equivalent to carbon dioxide emissions of 2.6 to 2.9 million metric tons.  While these estimates are likely to be refined over time and compared to facility estimates of lost gas, conducting aerial methane surveys to calculate emissions rates is a proven scientific measurement method.

These are staggering numbers, even in their preliminary form.

At a calculated rate per hour of about 50,000 kilograms of methane emissions, this single leak is likely responsible for over 25% of the state’s daily total methane emissions from all sources, including landfills and agriculture. Depending on when it is fixed, this one leak is also likely to single handedly double the methane emissions associated with natural gas use in California this year.  MORE