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Detecting methane leaks with infrared cameras: They’re fast, but are they effective?

Methane is the major component of natural gas, which heats our homes and recently surpassed coal as the top fuel for generating electricity in the United States. But methane is also a powerful greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. And because methane is highly flammable, gas leaks pose a significant safety hazard, as we saw in fatal explosions in 2010 in San Bruno, California and 2015 in New York City. The massive gas leak from the Aliso Canyon storage facility in Southern California in October 2015 led to evacuations of over 8,000 families after reports of serious health issues.

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