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Put a Lid on Landfill Methane

Landfills are rich in methane-producing bacteria that decompose garbage. Typically, excess methane simply leaks into the atmosphere, but a system of pipes can capture the gas underground and divert it to power plants instead. Installing such systems on a broad scale could reduce human-caused methane emissions by 8 percent, according to modeling conducted by Shindell's team. Visible here are pipes that are part of a methane capture system at a landfill in the state of Washington.


Credit: King County Solid Waste Division




This slideshow highlights key emission control strategies that could help limit the release of black carbon and methane into the atmosphere. NASA's Drew Shindell and a team of colleagues from around the world have published a study in Science that highlights how various regions and countries would benefit by limiting emissions of the two pollutants.


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NASA Goddard Space Flight Center enables NASA’s mission through four scientific endeavors: Earth Science, Heliophysics, Solar System Exploration, and Astrophysics. Goddard plays a leading role in NASA’s accomplishments by contributing compelling scientific knowledge to advance the Agency’s mission.


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Taken on January 10, 2012