Created by years of intentionally released and errantly leaked natural gas during fossil fuel drilling operations, the cloud—invisible to the human eye but captured by advanced satellite imaging technology—is centered over northwest New Mexico and described by the Post as “a permanent, Delaware-sized methane cloud, so vast that scientists questioned their own data when they first studied it three years ago.”
So alarmed by the size of the plume were scientists, NASA researcher Christian Frankenberg told the Post, “We couldn’t be sure that the signal was real.”
Though there is considerably less of it put into the atmosphere each year, methane is twenty times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than carbon-dioxide or CO2.
I questioned this so went looking for another source:
CUBA, N.M. — The methane that leaks from 40,000 gas wells near this desert trading post may be colorless and odorless, but it’s not invisible. It can be seen from space.
Satellites that sweep over energy-rich northern New Mexico can spot the gas as it escapes from drilling rigs, compressors and miles of pipeline snaking across the badlands. In the air it forms a giant plume: a permanent, Delaware-sized methane cloud, so vast that scientists questioned their own data when they first studied it three years ago. “We couldn’t be sure that the signal was real,” said NASA researcher Christian Frankenberg.
Delaware-size gas plume over West illustrates the cost of leaking methane