GHGSat detects methane, a greenhouse gas that is 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

greenhouse gas monitoring from space to get a boost with spacex launch
Satellites can track methane leaks from space. (Image credit: GHGSat)

Three greenhouse gas-detecting satellites will travel to space on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket  Wednesday (May 25) to improve emissions monitoring from space.

The satellites belong to Canada-based GHGSat, which currently runs the world’s largest greenhouse gas-monitoring satellite constellations. The new additions will double the company’s fleet, enabling it to spot polluters more quickly and accurately. GHGSat detects methane, a greenhouse gas that is 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

Studies using GHGSat data, as well as those captured by Europe’s Sentinel satellites, previously revealed large amounts of preventable methane emissions leaking from oil and gas processing facilities all over the world due to negligence and faulty technology.

GHGSat can track those emissions down to individual plants, refineries and pipelines, providing authorities with a tool to hold those climate offenders accountable.

“In 2021, with three satellites in orbit, GHGSat measured over 143 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in methane emissions around the world,” GHGSat representatives said in an emailed statement. “The company’s data is routinely used by oil and gas, landfill, and coal mine operators to understand and reduce their emissions. It is also being utilized by the United Nations Environment Program’s International Methane Emissions Observatory (IMEO) to help countries meet their commitments.”

At the COP26 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, in November 2021, world leaders pledged to cut methane emissions by 30% by 2030 — a goal described by many scientists as easily achievable given that a large proportion of these emissions is preventable.

Currently, countries report their emissions based on the activity of the various industries and the amount of fossil fuels they use. However, this method results in delays and is unreliable as it doesn’t account for any leaks and relies on self-reporting. Satellites, therefore, are expected to provide more precise data and in real time.

According to the European Commission (opens in new tab), methane is responsible for at least a quarter of the current global warming. Eliminating unwanted methane emissions could reduce the projected atmospheric warming by 0.5 degrees Fahrenheit (0.28 degrees Celsius) by 2050.

GHGSat made headlines earlier this year by achieving a first: measuring the amount of methane released by burping cows.

The company plans to further expand its constellation with four more satellites, which are expected to launch in 2023.

Other players are developing greenhouse gas-detecting satellites as well. The European Space Agency and the European Union’s Copernicus environment monitoring program are working on a mission called CO2M, which will be the first to directly monitor carbon dioxide emissions at the level of individual emitters. Monitoring carbon dioxide emissions from space is much more challenging than detecting methane, because of the much higher background concentrations of this gas in Earth’s atmosphere.

Follow Tereza Pultarova on Twitter @TerezaPultarova. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

Keyword: Greenhouse gas monitoring from space to get a boost with SpaceX launch

TECH'S NEWS RELATED

NASA's Nuclear-Powered Dragonfly Helicopter Will Explore Saturn's Biggest Moon 'Titan'

Is there Life on Titan? Cassini’s Radar Images What Will We Get from Exploring Titan? NASA will launch the eagerly anticipated Dragonfly mission to Titan, Saturn’s biggest moon, in June 2027. By 2034, the nuclear-powered quadcopter weighing 450 kg (990 lbs) will land in the Selk crater region and explore Titan’s surface ...

View more: NASA's Nuclear-Powered Dragonfly Helicopter Will Explore Saturn's Biggest Moon 'Titan'

China's Shenzhou-13 taikonauts to conduct second spacewalk on Sunday

Taikonaut Zhai Zhigang conducts extravehicular activities (EVAs) out of China’s space station core module Tianhe, November 7, 2021. /Xinhua China’s Shenzhou-13 taikonauts, currently inside the country’s space station, will carry out their second spacewalk or extravehicular activities (EVAs) on Sunday, China Manned Space Engineering Office (CMSEO) announced Saturday. Zhai ...

View more: China's Shenzhou-13 taikonauts to conduct second spacewalk on Sunday

Exclusive interview: China's C919 features safety, comfort, efficiency

China’s homegrown large passenger plane, the C919. /CFP With several rounds of test flights, the C919 large passenger aircraft, China’s first homegrown trunk-line jet aircraft, finally gained its airworthiness certification from the country’s aviation regulator, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). In an exclusive interview with China Media ...

View more: Exclusive interview: China's C919 features safety, comfort, efficiency

India launches 5G services at last

A mobile network tower is seen near a high-rise building in Kolkata, India, 16 June 2022. /CFP India finally kicked off its 5G network with Prime Minister Narendra Modi making the first 5G video call to students on Saturday. The launch in select cities will expand to cover the ...

View more: India launches 5G services at last

Foreign Object Debris on Mars Ingenuity Helicopter Leaves NASA JPL Team Baffled

NASA Ingenuity’s 33rd Flight Unexpected Debris Landed on Spacecraft Kind of Debris Still Unexplained NASA’s Ingenuity Mars chopper took to the skies once more and hovered there for over a minute this past weekend on its 33rd interplanetary sortie. But strange debris found its way to the spacecraft’s foot. ...

View more: Foreign Object Debris on Mars Ingenuity Helicopter Leaves NASA JPL Team Baffled

Collisional Erosion Causes the Modification of Earth's Composition [STUDY]

Previous Study on Earth’s Composition Supporting Theory in Relation to the Composition of the Earth Earth’s Composition (Photo : PIRO/Pixabay) Earth Planet A team of researchers discovered evidence that suggests the Earth’s composition changed over time during its early years due to collisional erosion. (Photo : PIRO/Pixabay)Earth Planet Previous ...

View more: Collisional Erosion Causes the Modification of Earth's Composition [STUDY]

Earthlike Worlds With Oceans and Continents Could be Orbiting red Dwarfs, Detectable by James Webb

“Go then, there are other worlds than these.” Or so Stephen King said in his famous Dark Tower series. As of yet, none of those worlds are known to be like Earth. But, according to some new simulations by researchers at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), finding ...

View more: Earthlike Worlds With Oceans and Continents Could be Orbiting red Dwarfs, Detectable by James Webb

Construction Begins on the World’s Largest Steerable Radio Telescope

Radio astronomy has been in flux lately. With the permanent loss of the Arecibo telescope in Puerto Rico, a new global power has taken center stage in humanity’s search for radio signals – China. Recently the Chinese announced the start of work on a new milestone telescope, which will ...

View more: Construction Begins on the World’s Largest Steerable Radio Telescope

How Does NASA Plan to Keep Samples From Mars Safe From Contamination (and Contaminating) Earth?

Space Development Agency is now officially part of the Space Force

Starts With A Bang Podcast #86 – Stars in the Universe

NASA's Dragonfly Helicopter Will be Exploring This Region of Titan

Launches: Crew-5 arrives for ISS launch

What is modern art about — and why won’t it go away already?

Acne is a “disease of Western civilization.” Is overwashing to blame?

The Wizard of Oz is a story about the dangers of the gold standard

Firefly, Millennium Space selected for U.S. Space Force rapid-launch demonstration

Hubble Space Telescope Detects Protective Shield Defending a Pair of Dwarf Galaxies

Deepfake audio has a tell

Firefly’s Alpha rocket reaches orbit on second launch

OTHER TECH NEWS

;