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Methane emissions from the 2015 Aliso Canyon blowout in Los Angeles, CA


Single-point failures of natural gas infrastructure can hamper methane emission control strategies designed to mitigate climate change. The 23 October 2015 blowout of a well connected to the Aliso Canyon underground storage facility in California resulted in a massive release of natural gas. Analysis of methane and ethane data from dozens of plume transects, collected during 13 research-aircraft flights between 7 November 2015 and 13 February 2016, shows atmospheric leak rates of up to 60 metric tons of methane and 4.5 metric tons of ethane per hour. At its peak, this blowout effectively doubled the methane emission rate of the entire Los Angeles basin and, in total, released 97,100 metric tons of methane to the atmosphere.

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