Eastern US cities spewing more methane into air than thought

WASHINGTON (AP) — Older U.S. east coast cities are leaking nine times as much natural gas into the air — from homes or pipes heading into houses — than the federal government had thought, a new airborne monitoring study finds.

Study co-author Eric Kort of the University of Michigan said Monday that it’s probably not a safety problem because what’s coming out doesn’t reach explosive concentrations, but the extra methane heading into the air is a climate change issue.

Scientists flew a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration airplane over New York City, Washington, Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore and Providence, Rhode Island, in 2018 and found lots more methane. They couldn’t tell if the methane was leaking from inside homes or the pipes leading to homes.

The study is in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

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