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Air Pollution From Oil and Gas Industries Visible From Space: Study

Air pollution from oil, gas production sites visible from space

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Oil gas industry
Researchers have seen a significant increase in the release of the lung-irritating air pollutant nitrogen dioxide and a more-than-doubling of the amount of gas flared into the atmosphere. Pixabay

Oil and gas production has doubled in some parts of the United States in the last two years, as researchers have seen a significant increase in the release of the lung-irritating air pollutant nitrogen dioxide and a more-than-doubling of the amount of gas flared into the atmosphere.

“We see the industry’s growing impact from space, we really are at the point where we can use satellite data to give feedback to companies and regulators, and see if they are successful in regulating emissions,” said study lead author Barbara Dix from University of Colorado Boulder in the US.

For the study, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, researchers set out to see if a suite of satellite-based instruments could help scientists understand more about nitrogen oxides pollution (including nitrogen dioxide) coming from engines in US oil and gas fields.

Combustion engines produce nitrogen oxides, which is a respiratory irritant and can lead to the formation of other types of harmful air pollutants, such as ground-level ozone, the research said.

Oil gas industry
On oil and gas drilling and production sites, there may be several small and large combustion engines, drilling, compressing gas, separating liquids and gases, and moving gas and oil through pipes and storage containers. Pixabay

According to the researchers, on oil and gas drilling and production sites, there may be several small and large combustion engines, drilling, compressing gas, separating liquids and gases, and moving gas and oil through pipes and storage containers.

The emissions of those engines are not controlled.

“Conventional ‘inventories’ meant to account for nitrogen oxides pollution from oil and gas sites are often very uncertain, underestimating or overestimating the pollutants,” said study co-author Joost de Gouw.

“And there are few sustained measurements of nitrogen oxides in many of the rural areas where oil and gas development often takes place,” Dix said.

So the research team turned to nitrogen dioxide data from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on board a NASA satellite and the Tropospheric Monitoring Instrument (TropOMI) on a European Space Agency satellite.

They also looked at gas flaring data from an instrument on the NOAA/NASA Suomi satellite system.

Between 2007 and 2019, across much of the US, nitrogen dioxide pollution levels dropped because of cleaner cars and power plants, the team found, confirming findings reported previously.

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The clean air trend in satellite data was most obvious in urban areas of California, Washington and Oregon and in the eastern half of the continental US.

However, several areas stuck out with increased emissions of nitrogen dioxide: The Permian, Bakken and Eagle Ford oil and gas basins, in Texas and New Mexico, North Dakota, and Texas, respectively, the study said. (IANS)

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Low-Cost iPhone to Get into Mass Production in February: Apple

The low cost successor to iPhone SE is getting into mass production next month

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Apple iPhone
The low cost successor to iPhone SE is getting into mass production next month and Apple could release it in March. Pixabay

There is a latest development in science and technology that the low cost successor to iPhone SE is getting into mass production next month and Apple could release it in March.

Apple is reportedly ready to return to the low-cost phone market after an absence of four years, CNET reported on Tuesday.

The handset — believed to be comparable in size to the 4.7-inch iPhone 8 from 2017 — would be Apple’s first low-cost smartphone since 2016’s $399 iPhone SE.

Apple iPhone
Apple is reportedly ready to return to the low-cost phone market after an absence of four years, CNET reported on Tuesday. Pixabay

It is pertinent to note that the iPhone SE was one of company’s most successful mobile devices in the past half-decade because of a combination of reasons.

Price was a factor but it also offered long-time iPhone fans a reprieve from all the design changes that Apple was doing.

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Planning for the new handset was reported in September by Japanese news outlet Nikkei Asian Review.

The phone will share most components with the current line up of iPhones and use a cheaper LCD display to keep the cost low, according to the Japanese paper, the CNET report added. (IANS)