CNN's April 30, 2022 Planet-warming emissions from cow burps have been seen from space begins:
The emissions were detected by environmental data company GHGSat's high-resolution satellites in February, according to a news release from the company. In April the company's analysis confirmed that the emissions came from a cattle feedlot in California's Joaquin Valley.
The satellites recorded five emissions, says GHGSat. If these emissions were sustained for just one year, enough gas would be released "to power 15,402 homes," the company said.
Methane emissions from cattle have been identified as a significant contributor to climate change. As cows digest their food, they release methane, mostly through their gassy burps. But the methane they burp up is a powerful greenhouse gas that traps heat in the atmosphere. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says that farm cattle contribute to 10% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide generated by human activity.
And cattle farming is a major industry in California: The state has 650,000 beef cows as of 2019, according to the California Cattlemen's Association.
Brody Wight, the sales director at GHGSat, told CNN this is the first time the company knows of in which scientists were able to use satellite imagery to pinpoint methane emissions from cattle farming. The company has three high-resolution satellites in orbit, which it has previously used to measure emissions from open-pit coal mines. Each satellite is just the size of a microwave oven, says GHGSat.
Question: What are the three high-resolution imaging satellites that GHGSat uses to make high spatial resolution images of methane emission (in this case, likely a cluster of cow burps) and how do these satellites image column-averaged ppb levels of methane above background? What kind of camera and wavelengths are used?
Graphic from the CNN article, showing column-average values of 20 to 100 ppb CH4 with an apparent spatial resolution of roughly tens of meters:
An environmental data company captured images of methane emissions from cattle taken from space.