L.A. Basin methane emissions found up to 61% higher than estimates

A new study that used a mountaintop sensor to measure air pollution in the Los Angeles Basin found emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, are up to 61% higher than government estimates.

The study published Monday in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, is the latest to reveal official emissions inventories that underestimate the amount of the planet-warming pollutant being released into the atmosphere.

While the research was not designed to pinpoint specific sources of methane, it employed a new technique to measure the gas that could provide important clues about where it is being released in Los Angeles and other major cities.

"This is a tremendous result from a scientific experiment," said Charles Miller, a research scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and coauthor of the study. "For the first time, we have the capability of making maps, or images, of the distribution of methane across the L.A. basin."

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