MethaneSAT- A satellite to track Methane

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Source-This post on MethaneSAT- A satellite to track Methane is based on the article “Meet MethaneSAT, a satellite which will ‘name and shame’ methane emitters” published in “The Indian Express” on 5th March 2024.

Why in the News?

MethaneSAT, a satellite designed to track and measure methane emissions globally, was launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon9 rocket from California.

What is MethaneSAT?

Source- eoPortal
AboutIt is an Earth observation satellite designed to monitor and study global methane emissions to aid in combating climate change.
Launch dateMarch 4, 2024
Agencies InvolvedThe Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), Harvard University, the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, and the New Zealand Space Agency.
Function1. MethaneSAT will make 15 orbits around the Earth each day, observing the activities of the oil and gas industry.
2. It will generate extensive data to indicate “where methane originates, who is accountable, and whether emissions are increasing or decreasing over time.”
3. The data collected by MethaneSAT will be freely available to the public in almost real-time.
Features1. The satellite, equipped with a high-resolution infrared sensor and a spectrometer, which will help fill important data gaps.
2. It can detect changes in methane levels as small as three parts per billion in the atmosphere, allowing it to identify smaller sources of emissions compared to previous satellites.
3. MethaneSAT also boasts a broad camera perspective, covering approximately 200 km by 200 km, enabling it to detect larger emitters known as “super emitters“.
Data AnalysisThe data collected will be analyzed using cloud computing and AI technology developed by Google, which is a mission partner. This data will be publicly accessible through Google’s Earth Engine platform.

Why is it significant?

1. The launch of MethaneSAT coincides with a time when the world is adopting stricter methane management policies.

2. Over 150 countries signed the Global Methane Pledge in 2021, aiming to reduce their combined methane emissions by at least 30% from 2020 levels by 2030.

3. Additionally, at COP 28, more than 50 companies pledged to significantly reduce methane emissions and routine flaring. MethaneSAT will support these efforts by assisting in achieving these targets.

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