Data Dispatch: California Mitigation Examples

Published on: Jun 16, 2022

Carbon Mapper Data Dispatches are regular communications highlighting insights and information from the Carbon Mapper Data Portal. We believe transparency is critical in the global fight against climate change. That’s why Carbon Mapper is committed to delivering accessible data on methane and CO2 emissions so that it can be used by policymakers, regulators, operators, and civil society to guide science-based action to reduce emissions. 

Data Highlight

Figure 1 shows a Map Layer now available on the Carbon Mapper Data Portal highlighting methane mitigation examples from 44 sites in California.


Figure 2 shows a mitigation example in detail, including information and imagery on the source, leak type, timeline from observation to mitigation, and basic description.


What We See 

On June 13, 2022, Carbon Mapper released a pilot suite of mitigation examples that show methane emissions observations from airborne surveys conducted between 2016 and 2021. Our goal with these examples is to highlight where initial methane emissions were observed, what action was taken on the ground following notification, and how subsequent overflights verified emissions reductions.

Mitigation examples that were verified by follow-up flights are currently only available for a select number of sources in California. Examples with time series chart, sample plume imagery, sector type, and leak information are identified in the portal as “Mitigation Examples – With Details”.  Other examples identified by CARB but with plume imagery and time series charts still in process are identified in the data portal as “Locations Only”. We are working to expand this feature to other sources and regions.  


Each mitigation example includes the four elements: 

  • Summary Table: This table includes key elements of the methane source, including source ID, location information, sector, leak type, and estimated emissions mitigated. Emission uncertainties include the contributions from variability in wind speed and instrument uncertainty. 
  • Plume Images: Where available, images of detected plumes from each overflight are included together to show the detection images over time. 
  • Time Series: This chart shows emissions rates for each overflight over the course of 2016-2021. When an overflight occurred and no emissions were detected, those are also noted. 
  • Description: Each mitigation example includes a description of associated methane emissions detections and the mitigation actions taken by operators and regulators. 

Why it Matters  

These mitigation examples, which were part of the California Methane Surveys, demonstrate the concrete impact of remote observations to drive action to reduce methane emissions in California and beyond. 

Thanks to methane detecting surveys from oil and gas, waste, and agricultural sites using innovative remote-sensing technology, 44 individual California facilities voluntarily took corrective actions between 2017 and 2021, preventing the equivalent of 1.2 million metric tons of CO2 from escaping into the atmosphere. 

Leaks, malfunctions and facility management issues like the ones identified through these surveys can generate very high methane emission rates but can be hard to detect and accurately quantify since many are intermittent or occur randomly over large or difficult to access areas. Sustained wide-area monitoring can alert operators, regulators, and communities to issues and—as these examples show—when armed with timely information, many operators take corrective action on their own.  

Learn more about the impact of these mitigation examples, their role in advancing climate goals for California, and how they just scratch the surface on the impacts that can be achieved by remote sensing. 

See also this related recent Data Dispatch regarding leaking oil wells detected by Carbon Mapper near Bakersfield.