The Largest Methane Leak in U.S. History at the Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Facility Northwestern L.A

The Largest Methane Leak in U.S. History at the Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Facility Northwestern L.A

The Largest Methane Leak in U.S. History that has ever occurred in the United States, Analysis of a leak at the Aliso Canyon natural gas facility in northwestern Los Angeles has revealed that more than 100,000 tons of methane were released into the atmosphere over the course of four months.

The leak, which was first detected on October 23, 2015, forced the evacuation of more than 11,000 residents from the nearby Porter Ranch area. At the peak of the gas blowout, which scientists described as the worst environmental disaster in the U.S. since the Deep water Horizon oil spill, methane emissions for the entire Los Angeles basin were effectively doubled.

Methane naturally exists in far lower concentrations in the atmosphere than the most abundant greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, but it produces more radiative forcing per molecule. Thus, the Aliso Canyon leak had an overall environmental impact equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas output of nearly 600,000 cars.

Although the leak was finally capped on February 18, many residents of the Porter Ranch area were reluctant to return to their homes. On February 25 a Los Angeles county judge ordered the Southern California Gas Co., the owner of the leaking well, to pay for an additional three weeks of temporary accommodation for displaced residents.

The Video of Greenhouse Gases

Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane contain some of the heat emitted from Earth’s surface.

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