"Methane emissions from the oil and gas sector in the south-central United States are nearly two times higher than inventory estimates from EPA, according to new research from Pennsylvania State University.
The study, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, used data collected from six flights across the Midwest, where researchers flew through concentrated methane plumes formed during weather fronts. Researchers measured the methane — a greenhouse gas with up to 35 times the warming potential of carbon dioxide — at its endpoint in the atmosphere using a top-down approach, the paper said.
Zachary Barkley, a Penn State researcher in meteorology and atmospheric science and paper co-author, said when a cold front occurs, a draw of warm air comes up from the south, pulling with it methane emissions from oil and gas as well as animal agriculture. Those emissions converge into identifiable plumes along frontal boundaries, which the Penn State researchers studied using equipment aboard NASA aircraft."