ICOS Graph showing methane peaks

An enormous amount of methane gas has been released into the atmosphere, due to the damage to the Nord Stream gas lines in the Baltic Sea: the leaks equal the size of a whole year’s methane emissions for a country like Denmark. The huge methane peaks of emissions are confirmed by ICOS ground-based observations from several stations in Sweden (Hyltemossa, Norunda), Norway (Birkenes) and Finland (Utö). According to NILU, the wind on the leak area blew the methane emissions north until the Finnish archipelago, then towards Sweden and Norway. Given the complex meteorological conditions, the amount of gas leaked, which is still bubbling up from the pipes, will be quantified at a later stage. Methane is one of the strongest greenhouse gases that warms the atmosphere about 30 times more than carbon dioxide over a period of 100 years, therefore the leak puts even more pressure on climate actions. ICOS is a greenhouse gas observation system that has 150 physical measurement stations across Europe and the adjacent oceans, and it can deliver data near real-time, allowing fast and precise comparisons of the observations. “We see the benefit of a standardised, large network in cases like this. […] ICOS is […] very useful in detecting this type of sudden case,” so Director General of ICOS, Werner Kutsch.

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