Satellite finds garbage dump that emits as much as 1.5 million cars

As atmospheric methane concentrations increase at record pace, it is critical to identify individual emission sources with high potential for mitigation. Here, we leverage the synergy between satellite instruments with different spatiotemporal coverage and resolution to detect and quantify emissions from individual landfills. We use the global surveying Tropospheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) to identify large emission hot spots and then zoom in with high-resolution target-mode observations from the GHGSat instrument suite to identify the responsible facilities and characterize their emissions. Using this approach, we detect and analyze strongly emitting landfills (3 to 29 t hour−1) in Buenos Aires, Delhi, Lahore, and Mumbai. Using TROPOMI data in an inversion, we find that city-level emissions are 1.4 to 2.6 times larger than reported in commonly used emission inventories and that the landfills contribute 6 to 50% of those emissions. Our work demonstrates how complementary satellites enable global detection, identification, and monitoring of methane superemitters at the facility level.


One rocket launch to get a sattelite in the sky produces as much to toxic gases as 100 cars driving for a year.