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posted by on Friday October 28 2016, @10:38PM   Printer-friendly
from the fart-jokes-always-welcome dept.

The bulk of methane emissions in the United States can be traced to a small number of "super emitting" natural gas wells, according to a new study.

"We're finding that when it comes to natural gas leaks, a 50/5 rule applies: That is, the largest 5 percent of leaks are typically responsible for more than 50 percent of the total volume of leakage," said study co-author Adam Brandt, an assistant professor of energy resources engineering at Stanford's School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences.

The findings, published online in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, could lead to more efficient strategies for sampling emissions and fixing the most significant leaks, said Brandt, who is also a senior fellow at Stanford's Precourt Institute for Energy. By focusing on finding and fixing the biggest emitters, companies can significantly reduce the amount of methane leaking into the atmosphere.

[...] For the new study, Brandt and his colleagues analyzed approximately 15,000 measurements from 18 prior studies of natural gas leaks from across the U.S. using a statistical technique called extreme value theory, which is useful for analyzing infrequent but highly consequential events.

"Extreme value theory has been used to study everything from major flood events to crop losses brought on by drought and stock market crashes," Brandt said. "In all of these cases, infrequent events really drive a lot of decision-making and expenditure or have big economic consequences. We are the first to apply this technique in a formal and rigorous way to natural gas leaks."

The referenced paper can be found here (full paper paywalled, abstract only) (DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.6b04303) (DX).

Thank goodness the answer wasn't "cows."

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 29 2016, @12:11AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 29 2016, @12:11AM (#419996)

    And for some people it must make them post about fart jokes too.

  • (Score: 2) by edIII on Saturday October 29 2016, @01:02AM

    by edIII (791) on Saturday October 29 2016, @01:02AM (#420005)

    It may be literally the oldest joke on the planet. IIRC, it *IS* the first recorded joke too :)

    Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.