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Large methane emissions leaking from landfills close to the center of Madrid, Spain


High-resolution satellites have detected substantial quantities of methane leaking from two landfill sites close to the center of Madrid, Spain.

Using data from the ESA's Copernicus Sentinel-5P mission combined with GHGSat’s high-resolution commercial imagery, scientists from the Netherlands Institute for Space Research (SRON) and GHGSat discovered both landfill sites combined emitted 8 800 kg (19 400 pounds) of methane per hour in August 2021, representing the highest observed in Europe by GHGSat.1

The area was originally identified based on methane hotspot mapping using Tropomi data from the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite by researchers at SRON.

Scientists then used CHGSat imagery to spot methane plumes on August 20 and October 13, 2021, emanating from two landfill sites approximately 6 km (3.7 miles) apart, located just 18 km (11 miles) from the center of Madrid.

The largest source released methane at a rate nearing 5 000 kg (11 000 pounds) per hour, with satellite imagery showing a cloud of greenhouse gas drifting towards nearby residences.

The cause of the emissions is currently unknown, but data has been shared with the operator.

Image credit: CHGSat, ESA


1 Satellites detect large methane emissions from Madrid landfills – ESA

Featured image credit: CHGSat, ESA

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  1. “The cause of the emissions is currently unknown, but data has been shared with the operator.”????? Seriously?? Mmmmmm…..might it be because what is in the landfill is ‘BREAKING DOWN’?! (aka Decomposing)

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