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Louisiana Investigates Massive Methane Cloud Seen From Space

The plume was the most severe concentration of the powerful greenhouse gas spotted by the Sentinel-5P satellite in the U.S. since October.

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Louisiana is investigating the source of a massive methane plume observed by a satellite over the U.S. last month.

The state began its investigation after Bloomberg News contacted the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration about a cloud of invisible gas detected Jan. 21 by Kayrros SAS. The geoanalytics firm estimates an emissions rate of 105 tons of methane an hour was needed to generate the plume, which stretched more than 90 kilometers (56 miles) across multiple parishes and was the most severe concentration of the powerful greenhouse gas spotted by the Sentinel-5P satellite in the U.S. since October. If the release lasted an hour at that rate it would have the same short-term impact as the annual emissions from more than 1,900 U.S. cars.