New Satellites Unlock Crucial Climate Opportunity

An ecosystem of methane-detecting satellites is emerging, each with distinct capabilities and purpose. They’re giving companies, regulators, investors, and the public a new level of transparency and insight for tackling an urgent climate challenge.

MethaneSAT is the only satellite that will provide high-precision global coverage on a near-weekly basis, measuring not just methane concentrations but the rate it’s escaping from where, and who is responsible.

It will quantify large emissions as well as sources too small for other satellites to see, but which make up a significant share of the world total.

Different Platforms Offer Different Capabilities

Ecosystem of satellites

Global Mappers can track methane over very wide areas but can see only very large emissions and lack the resolution to identify sources.

Point-Source Detectors have fine-grained spatial resolution for targeting known sites but lack sensitivity to detect the vast number of smaller emissions responsible for a substantial share of the everyday total.

MethaneSAT bridges the gap. It has a wide field of view to find and measure even the smallest amounts of methane across wide areas with exceptional precision – detecting concentrations as small as just 3 parts per billion.

MethaneSAT will:

  • Track emissions back to their origin
  • Accurately measure not only methane concentrations but also emissions rate
  • Provide data for companies or regulators to find the biggest reductions fast
  • Cover the globe every 3 to 4 days
  • Automate calculations done by scientists today, cutting a process that can take months down to just days

MethaneSAT data will be public, free of charge

It will enable stakeholders of all kinds to compare emissions performance by country or company, virtually anywhere on earth.

Different tools working together

Information from different satellites will be available in different ways at different times for different users. Some information will be public, some proprietary.

Stakeholders can use data from different satellites to develop a fuller, more comprehensive understanding of the emissions landscape, or to cross-check their findings.

  • They might combine measurements from a point-source instrument like Carbon Mapper with the more sensitive data and wider coverage of MethaneSAT.
  • Daily global coverage offered by TROPOMI will be a useful way to spot high emission events, and as a tool to look for possible targets for other satellites.

Comparison of methane satellites