California's Methane Leak

In Aliso Canyon in California, a gas leak is spewing methane into the air. On the 23rd of October 2015 the leak erupted at a natural gas storage facility near Los Angeles.

As of the time of writing (Jan 2016), this leak is still ongoing - at an enormous rate. We have created this animated visualisation to give insight as to the scale of that rate.

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What does this visualisation show?

This visualisation is showing us accurate volumes of gas at (approximately) the actual rate at which they are being emitted. Each sphere represents 10 kg of gas. After 4 tonnes have been emitted the animation starts again from the beginning.

Why show Carbon Dioxide as well?

Methane is a powerful climate pollutant and greenhouse gas. It’s about 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide. This means that 1 kg of methane being emitted will have a similar effect on global warming as 84 kg of CO2. If you click the button at the top of the visualisation marked ‘Carbon Dioxide’, you will be able to see the CO2 equivalent emissions rate.

Where can I find out more?

EDF have published a very good article on the Aliso Canyon leak here.

We used the emissions rate figure of 50,000 kg of methane per day, as stated here.

We have used a figure of 84 for the CO2 global warming equivalent of methane (over a period of 20 years). This figure was taken from a report published by the IPCC on Anthropogenic and Natural Radiative Forcing (chapter 8, page 714, table 8.7).

Please note: emissions rates may be shown slightly slower than they should be due to browser limitations.