Researcher Paul Wennberg of Caltech Pasadena has attempted to measure whether currently acknowledged methane sources in Los Angeles account for all the methane emitted in the city, by subtracting emissions from known sources of methane from a measurement of how much methane total the city is putting into the atmosphere. Based on Wennberg’s study, only about half the city’s methane emissions can be accounted for by known sources. It may be that landfills or sewage treatment plants are leaking more methane into the air than previously realized, but so far no one really knows where all the methane comes from. If the results for Los Angeles apply to other cities as well, it could turn out that cities are more important sources of this greenhouse gas than we knew.
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