nord stream leaked less methane than feared: atmospheric monitor
While the pipelines are not currently in operation, they both still contained natural gas, which is largely made up of methane.

Leaks from the Nord Stream gas pipelines released some 70,000 metric tons of the powerful greenhouse gas methane, researchers said Wednesday, less than previously thought.

The Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, which connect Russia to Germany, had already been at the center of geopolitical tensions for months as Russia cut back gas supplies to Europe in suspected retaliation against Western sanctions following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Then last week massive gas plumes were spotted in the Baltic Sea above the pipelines in what NATO has said appeared to be an act of sabotage.

Although they were not in operation, they both still contained gas, which spewed up through the water and into the atmosphere.

Researchers from France’s Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission said they were “surprised” that data from monitoring stations across Europe led them to conclude that 70,000 tons of the planet-heating gas methane had been released.

Other estimates, based on the amount of gas thought to be in the pipes and the pressure levels, had led to estimates several times higher, they said.

Scientists have expressed concerns about the climate and environmental impacts of the leaks—which have largely stopped—but stressed that the amounts of methane involved were a tiny fraction of global emissions.

“These are important figures,” said Philippe Ciais, a researcher at the Laboratory of Climate and Environmental Sciences, who led the latest French research.

He added that the amount of methane estimated to have been released was equivalent to two percent of French carbon emissions or the emissions of Paris for an entire year.

“This is not good news, but not a climate bomb,” said Philippe Ciais, underlining that these initial findings would need to be verified by other modelling work.

Methane is responsible for roughly 30 percent of the global rise in temperatures to date, even though it is far less abundant in the atmosphere than CO2.

Gas plumes

The researchers used readings from stations of the European observation network Icos, which monitors the fluxes of atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases.

The data was then modeled according to some 10,000 scenarios to come up with the estimates for the leak.

With the winds, the fumes first rose towards southern Sweden, then turned west where they were detected passing over parts of Norway and the United Kingdom.

Later the wisps of methane were faintly registered at the tip of western France in Brittany.

Ciais said it was unclear why the leak would be smaller than previously assumed.

One theory would be that there might have been less gas in the pipes than previously thought, he said, or that more than expected was dissolved in the sea water, which is normal in less powerful gas pipe leaks.

The readings showed emissions peaked on September 27 and then began to subside, with a smaller surge on October 1.

All of the four leaks were off the Danish island of Bornholm, two located in nearby Sweden’s exclusive economic zone, and the two others in the Danish one.

The Swedish coastguard on Monday said it could no longer observe gas emanating from the leak on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, but bubbles from a smaller leak could still be seen above Nord Stream 2 on Monday afternoon.

Natural gas is composed primarily of methane.

This is about 28 times more powerful than carbon dioxide on a century-long timescale—although it only lingers in the atmosphere for about a decade, compared to hundreds or thousands of years for carbon dioxide.

© 2022 AFP

Citation: Nord Stream leaked less methane than feared: atmospheric monitor (2022, October 5) retrieved 5 October 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-10-nord-stream-leaked-methane-atmospheric.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

TECH NEWS RELATED

Cuttlefish passed a cognitive test designed for humans

Scientists have discovered something intriguing about cuttlefish after putting them through a “marshmallow test.” The test, which is designed for children, showed that the cuttlefish have the ability to exert self-control for several seconds, whereas several other creatures can exert it for several minutes. This discovery, the researchers say, is ...

View more: Cuttlefish passed a cognitive test designed for humans

Ransomware attack forces French hospital to transfer patients

The André-Mignot teaching hospital in the suburbs of Paris had to shut down its phone and computer systems because of a ransomware attack that occurred on Saturday evening. According to Richard Delepierre, the co-chairman of the hospital’s supervisory board, the attackers behind this ransomware incident have already demanded a ...

View more: Ransomware attack forces French hospital to transfer patients

James Webb Telescope’s Unparalleled View of the Ghostly Light in Galaxy Clusters

Image of the intracluster light of the cluster SMACS-J0723.3-7327 obtained with the NIRCAM camera on board of Webb. The data have been processed by the IAC team to improve the detection of the faint light between the galaxies (black and white). Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI Data obtained by the ...

View more: James Webb Telescope’s Unparalleled View of the Ghostly Light in Galaxy Clusters

NASA is testing a new robotic arm that really knows how to chill out

A JPL engineer examines the 3D-printed titanium scoop of NASA’s Cold Operable Lunar Deployable Arm (COLDArm) robotic arm system, which is poised above a test bed made to simulate the surface of the Moon. The arm is designed to function in frigid temperatures that would stymie current spacecraft. Credit: ...

View more: NASA is testing a new robotic arm that really knows how to chill out

3D printing can help produce valuable radiopharmaceuticals

Irradiation container placed in the MARIA reactor core. Credit: National Centre for Nuclear Research Without accurate diagnostics, it is difficult to talk about effective treatment of patients, especially in the case of cancer. Today, as much as 80% of diagnostic procedures using radiopharmaceuticals require the use of molybdenum-99. In ...

View more: 3D printing can help produce valuable radiopharmaceuticals

For biodiversity to thrive, conservation efforts must be 'nature and people positive,' experts say

Credit: One Earth (2022). DOI: 10.1016/j.oneear.2022.11.013 In a new expert study published in the journal One Earth, an international team of scientists from the Earth Commission, convened by Future Earth, say that efforts to meet new biodiversity targets and goals for the next three decades risk repeating past failures ...

View more: For biodiversity to thrive, conservation efforts must be 'nature and people positive,' experts say

Biologists make case for guiding conservation with a local touch to fight climate change effects

Mariah Meek of Michigan State University studies the genetics that control brook trouts’ tolerance to heat stress. Credit: Michigan State University As nature reels towards a hotter, drier, harsher future, new conservation tools—seed banks and frozen zoos, gene editing and assisted gene flow—hold promise to help struggling animal and ...

View more: Biologists make case for guiding conservation with a local touch to fight climate change effects

Teachers entering the profession from other fields often less satisfied

Standardized regression weights plotted in the proposed conceptual model. Credit: Teaching and Teacher Education (2022). DOI: 10.1016/j.tate.2022.103942 There is a shortage of teachers not only in Germany, but in many countries around the world. For this reason, people without formal teaching degrees are often brought in from other fields ...

View more: Teachers entering the profession from other fields often less satisfied

EU: Twitter faces fines or shutdown if it does not comply with law

NASA capsule flies over Apollo landing sites, heads home

Forest resilience linked with higher mortality risk in western U.S., study finds

X-rays reveal elusive chemistry for better electric vehicle batteries

Robot helps researchers achieve a new record at the world's deepest cave pit

Elizabeth Holmes appeals Theranos fraud conviction

School of Science appoints 10 faculty to named professorships

Wine forecast: Britain could be Chardonnay champions by 2050

Image: Hubble spies emission nebula-star cluster duo

Team develops photon-efficient volumetric imaging method with light-sheet scanning fluorescence microscopy

New manufacturing process produces better, cheaper cathodes for lithium-ion batteries

Feline genetics help pinpoint first-ever domestication of cats

OTHER TECH NEWS

Top Car News Car News