Google will use AI and satellite imagery to monitor methane leaks

When it comes to carbon dioxide, it gets the lion’s share of attention , there are other factors. According to the International Energy Agency, methane is responsible for about 30 percent of global warming since the Industrial Revolution. About 40 percent originates from the energy sector from human activity. Identifying and reducing these emissions is said to be one of the most critical actions we can take in the short term to combat climate change.

For this purpose, and there is the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). teamed up to solve the problem. The previous couple using sensors in Street View cars in major cities. This time, they’re using a mix of satellite imagery and AI.

EDF and its partners have developed a satellite that will be launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in early March. While there are others MethaneSAT aims to provide the most comprehensive picture of methane emissions around the planet.

The satellite will orbit Earth 15 times a day at an altitude of 350 miles and will focus on measuring methane levels in the highest oil and gas producing regions. It will be able to describe large emissions from a single source as well as smaller sources of methane spread over larger areas.

EDF and its partners have developed algorithms powered by Google Cloud to calculate emissions at specific locations and track them over time. Just as Google uses AI to detect pavements, street signs and road names in satellite images for Maps, AI will also be used to pinpoint oil and gas infrastructure such as storage tanks and pumping stations.

Combining the methane map with a map showing oil and gas infrastructure is expected to provide a clearer picture of where emissions are coming from. This should provide power companies with actionable information to prevent leaks.

Information about the project will be publicly available and later this year. Yael Maguire, Google’s vice president and general manager of Geo Developer and Sustainability, said, “By making MethaneSAT datasets available on Earth Engine, which has more than 100,000 monthly active users, it’s a great way for users to discover trends and understand the impact of human activity on the environment. it’s easier to understand the relationship between influence,” he wrote in a blog post. Earth Engine users will be able to match methane data with other maps, such as those showing forests, regional boundaries, and water. They will also be able to look at methane emissions over time.

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