PIA26113: EMIT Identifying Methane Plumes Around the Globe
 Target Name:  Earth
 Is a satellite of:  Sol (our sun)
 Mission:  Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation (EMIT) 
 Spacecraft:  ISS
 Instrument:  EMIT 
 Product Size:  3499 x 1700 pixels (w x h)
 Produced By:  JPL
 Full-Res TIFF:  PIA26113.tif (17.85 MB)
 Full-Res JPEG:  PIA26113.jpg (1.131 MB)

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Figure A

NASA's Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation (EMIT) detected a cluster of 12 methane plumes on Sept. 1, 2022, in an approximately 150-square-mile (400-square-kilometer) region of southern Uzbekistan. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas about 80 times more effective at trapping heat than carbon dioxide during the time methane spends in the atmosphere, which is typically about a decade.

This an area no NASA airborne imaging spectrometers have covered. Whereas EMIT captured the scene in an instant, an airborne campaign might have taken about 65 hours of flight time to cover the same amount of land. The blue shading covers the area captured by EMIT in one "scene," which is 50 miles by 50 miles (80 kilometers by 80 kilometers). The emissions total about 49,734 pounds (22,559 kilograms) per hour.

Figure A shows a methane plume captured by EMIT in a remote corner of southeastern Libya on Sept. 3, 2022. The source was emitting about 979 pounds (444 kilograms) per hour, based on estimates of local wind speed. It's one of the smallest sources detected so far by EMIT.

EMIT uses an imaging spectrometer to detect the unique pattern of reflected and absorbed light – called a spectral fingerprint – from various materials on Earth's surface and in its atmosphere. Perched on the International Space Station, EMIT was originally intended to map the prevalence of minerals in Earth's arid regions, such as the deserts of Africa and Australia. Scientists verified that EMIT could also detect methane and carbon dioxide when they were checking the accuracy of the image spectrometer's mineral data.

EMIT was selected from the Earth Venture Instrument-4 solicitation under the Earth Science Division of NASA Science Mission Directorate and was developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is managed for the agency by Caltech in Pasadena, California. It launched aboard a SpaceX Dragon resupply spacecraft from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 14, 2022. The instrument's data will be delivered to the NASA Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC) for use by other researchers and the public.

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