Thursday, December 22, 2022

THE GAS WITH 80 TIMES MORE WARMING POWER THAN CO2

Mostly, land is seen covered with waste materials such as wood, food, paper or polythene bags. These landfills decompose and in result emit methane, a heat-trapping gas, into the air that contributes in increasing global warming (increase in temperature of earth). After agriculture and oil & gas systems, land wastes are the largest component resulting in methane emission.


Methane has capability of 80 times more warming power as compared to carbon dioxide as soon as it reaches atmosphere with much faster dissipating rate.

Methane emission is said to be the reason of 20% of global warming caused by humans resources. It has short atmospheric lifespan as compared to carbon dioxide so its warming effects can be lowered in shorter time than reducing carbon dioxide.Methane emission is a challenge for the scientists as it is responsibly increasing temperature of atmosphere. Scientist have been working to cut off these emissions or even decrease the quantity already emitted.

NASA satellite observations helped researchers to discover the landfill places which emit methane gas the most.

EMIT (The Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation) and NASA instruments were used to start a survey to find out the points having greenhouse gas (methane) with more potential.

Joannes Maasakkers, lead author of the study and atmospheric scientist at the Netherlands Institute for Space Research, cleared:

"We found that these landfills, which are relatively small compared to city sizes, are responsible for a large fraction of total emissions from a given area."

This new step is being taken to point out the sites containing more global waste emitting methane gas at relatively higher rates. This can help scientists to control or reduce the amount of gas in the atmosphere, thus coordinating in limiting the climate changes.




Methane emissions from landfills are leading to increased global warming


Riley Duren, Carbon Mapper CEO, explained, “Currently, there is limited actionable information about methane emissions from the global waste sector. A comprehensive understanding of high-emission point sources from waste sites is a critical step to mitigating them.”

An imaging spectrometer-EMIT installed on ISS (International Space Station) in July 2022 has ability to detect the infrared light radiations, absorbed by methane, with high accuracy and precision.

Researchers discovered that EMIT can also identify methane emitted from super-emitters (fossil fuels, agricultural waste or other wastes) as well as measures carbon dioxide. It detected more than 50 super-emitters situated in the South-Western United States, Middle East and Central Asia.

"By reducing methane emissions, we can quickly reduce the atmospheric warming effect and targeting landfills is a great place to start because by tuning the gas collection system, and getting it to work at its optimum level, you get a lot. You collect more methane, and you don't release it to the atmosphere," explained Jeff Chanton, a Florida State University climate scientist who studies methane.


The above data shows alarming increase in atmospheric methane levels in last some decades and projections to decrease the methane levels till 2050.





Besides EMIT, researchers have also decided to use Aircraft-based instruments and Global Airborne Observatory of Arizona State University.

Euan Nesbit, an Earth scientist at Royal Holloway, University of London, quoted:

"This new work shows just how important it is to manage landfills better, especially in countries like India where landfills are often on fire, emitting a wide range of damaging pollutants"

Thus reduction of landfills helps to lower the greenhouse gas-methane helping to control global warming

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