from the world's big
A European start-up uses satellite data to pinpoint individual sources of abnormal methane concentration.
- Just 100 sources of methane emit 20 megatons each year.
- Thanks to satellite data, individual culprits can now be found.
- The new tech could be used to police 'abnormal' methane emissions.
Significant contributor to global warming<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzI0MTQ0Ni9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTU5NTAyNzcxMn0.abXjEt1qcSTantp_n9inPreT0SCPI_NC2MLnUGBljls/img.jpg?width=980" id="ce493" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="57de847a9981a381ef8550b85d604497" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="\u200bNodding donkey in Midland, Texas. The oil and gas industry is a major emitter of methane." />
Nodding donkey in Midland, Texas. The oil and gas industry is a major emitter of methane.
Image: Eric Kounce TexasRaiser, public domain<p>Methane is the second most important greenhouse gas (after CO2), and its concentration in the atmosphere is increasing at around 1% each year. Because it absorbs the sun's heat even more efficiently than CO2, it's a significant contributor to global warming. </p><p>The first step to fight the rise in methane emissions is to track who's doing it. That's just become a lot easier. Paris-based tech start-up Kayrros can now find individual sources of abnormal methane emissions, all across the world. That's a first, and it's made possible by data from the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite.</p><p>Developed by the European Space Agency (ESA) and launched in 2017, the British-built Sentinel-5 Precursor (<a href="https://earth.esa.int/web/guest/missions/esa-eo-missions/sentinel-5p" target="_blank">Sentinel-5P</a>) is the first satellite of the Copernicus program dedicated to monitoring air pollution, thanks to a spectrometer called <a href="http://www.tropomi.eu/" target="_blank">Tropomi </a>(short for Tropospheric Monitoring Instrument).</p><p>With a resolution of about 50 km<sup>2</sup>, this Dutch-built instrument can monitor atmospheric levels of aerosols, sulphur dioxide (SO<sub>2</sub>), nitrogen dioxide (NO<sub>2</sub>), carbon monoxide (CO), formaldehyde (CH<sub>2</sub>O), ozone (O<sub>3</sub>) and methane (CH<sub>4</sub>). <span></span></p>
High-volume methane leaks<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzI0MTQzOC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxNjQ4MDU4Mn0.eyWaywl5TPljlpaJfA6bi7vzOdBjE42r0uVf1kfQCNQ/img.jpg?width=980" id="beadd" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="d9064ebea1b44796ecde5892f91edfc3" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="\u200bAbnormal methane concentrations in 2019 \u2013 often found in regions of the world producing or procesing oil and gas. Data provided by the Copernicus program, processed by Kayrros." />
Abnormal methane concentrations in 2019 – often found in regions of the world producing or processing oil and gas. Data provided by the Copernicus program, processed by Kayrros.
Image: Kayrros<p>You may not have heard of Tropomi yet, but it's likely you've already seen its work. Earlier this year, Copernicus Sentinel-5P produced the images that showed substantially reduced NO<sub>2</sub> levels across China, due to the coronavirus lockdown. </p><p>Tropomi also offers the most detailed monitoring of methane emissions presently available. Combining that data with other input from older-model Copernicus satellites Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2, and from other sources (including ground sensors, position tracking and even social media), Kayrros scientists can identify the size, potency, and location of abnormal methane leaks around the world. </p><p>According to Kayrros, there are around <a href="https://phys.org/news/2020-05-methane-emissions-global-scale.html" target="_blank">100 high-volume methane leaks</a> active around the world at any given time. Together, they release about 20 megatons of methane per year. About half of that volume is associated with mining for oil, gas or coal, or other heavy industries. Together, that amount of methane per annum is equivalent to CO<sub>2</sub> emissions of France and Germany combined.<br></p><p>So, how precise is the Kayrros method? Here's a recent case study. </p>
Plume over the Permian Basin<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzI0MTQzMy9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MTM5NjgwOH0.bXMZKKhhiQzi-7cYcwiomr7H2ohUEL-Y0HOxjRv6sZ4/img.jpg?width=980" id="90e74" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="1b50fe434cb6e34abdf2fccead19aafe" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Image: Kayrros<p>In December last year, Kayrros used data from Copernicus-5P to identify the source of a methane plume over the Permian Basin, which covers western Texas and southeastern New Mexico. Sitting on top of a part of the Mid-Continent Oil Field, the Basin's surface is dotted with hundreds of oil wells. Yet with a little help from Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2, Copernicus-5P managed to find the exact location, and the individual culprit. <br></p><p>For the first time, Kayrros tech and Copernicus-5P data make it possible to detect abnormal methane emissions in real time. Not only will this increase the precision of methane emission estimates, it will also allow regulators to find and fine the exact culprits, and if necessary, shut down their operations. </p>
Found: the culprit<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzI0MTQyNS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwNTczNTIxM30.JwY44VqYaWDEH7VtsoexxZS30Bp6Nz36prCNbFTSenY/img.jpg?width=980" id="74329" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="311f2c45db616fee626a540c4c735c8f" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
- Adam Davidson, staff writer for The New Yorker and cofounder of NPR's Planet Money, was raised in an environment in which everything was grounds for discussion — except money. So, of course, money was what he took an interest in.
- The idea for Planet Money came from a place of frustration that Davidson and his friends felt toward the shortcomings of current business coverage. They aimed to breathe new life into the field.
- Planet Money's road to success has consistently involved a team that holds each other to a high standard of thoughtfulness, intelligence, humility, and impeccable storytelling.
A global brainstorming marathon is throwing together brilliant ideas from around the world to rapidly develop solutions to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
- The Global Hack is a 48-hour online brainstorming marathon beginning on Thursday, April 9.
- The event is open to anyone with a solution to address the COVID-19 pandemic and socioeconomic problems caused by it.
- The prize pool is estimated at 120,000 euros, or about $130,000 U.S. dollars.
What is the Global Hack?<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjkxNzg1My9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxOTkxMzE4Mn0.5-6HtXLj2a0feIL0ggwT6KrDp2PaGkJ4dTljUF9mUcQ/img.png?width=980" id="7884d" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="f4d7b7b0c64d2b1fe57a87ef2a035da3" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Photo Source: Screenshot / The Global Hack Facebook event<p><a href="https://www.siliconrepublic.com/start-ups/global-hack-coronavirus-covid19-hackathon" target="_blank">The hackathon</a> is a 48-hour, organized brainstorming marathon. The first<a href="https://www.siliconrepublic.com/start-ups/estonian-hackathon-covid19-coronavirus-solutions" target="_blank"> Hack the Crisis</a> event began in Estonia in mid-March. Organized by the Estonian start-up <a href="https://accelerateestonia.ee/en/" target="_blank">Accelerate Estonia</a> and <a href="https://garage48.org/" target="_blank">Garage48</a> in just three days, the event brought together 1,300 people from 20 different countries. One of the ideas presented, the <a href="https://voicebot.ai/2020/03/30/estonia-debuts-coronavirus-chatbot-born-in-a-hackathon/" target="_blank">SUVE bot</a>, is now used in government offices in Estonia. The bot is able to answer visitor's questions about the coronavirus in real-time. Another idea presented was <a href="https://www.getzelos.com/blog/coronavirus-crisis-hotline/" target="_blank">Zelos</a>, a platform that connects the most vulnerable, at-risk individuals with volunteers using a call center and task dispatch app to prevent further isolation.</p><p>"As this was getting into motion, during the [original] hack during those three days, the organizers were already seeing that this is going to be something huge," says Helery Pops, a communications volunteer for the Global Hack. </p><p>Soon after Estonia's Hack the Crisis, activists from 48 other countries took notice and organized their own hacks. Now, this week, the original organizers along with volunteers from several countries are putting together one unified, worldwide hackathon financially powered by European Commission, United Nations, and New America. Focusing on issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it's calling for innovators in countries across the globe to put their ideas into motion. </p><p>"This is our call to hack the crisis - not only to brainstorm solutions to prevent and stop the spreading of a highly-infectious disease but to think about how our lives will be different after this," said Kai Isand, head organizer of the Global Hack, in a press release. "The next step for the global movement is to come together in a unified hackathon event where teams will create projects that have a strong international socio-economic impact and create the needed rapid change." </p>
How to Hack<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjkxNzg1OS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNzcyNzE3NH0.njD5Pg2-zXoI5vyddn9dBA17Ol3sqiX42EKkW4_2kWI/img.jpg?width=980" id="9b1fb" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="62b57288d589972582e5b16ac7ced320" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Photo Source: The Global Hack Facebook event<p>So, here's how it works. First, you come up with a brilliant solution to address the COVID-19 crisis that falls within one of the tracklists on the Global Hack's<a href="https://theglobalhack.com/" target="_blank"> website</a>. You then share your ideas and find a team to collaborate with on the app Slack, which you can <a href="https://theglobalhack.slack.com/join/shared_invite/zt-d9q40p37-i2r3AL5Ca7WpMctgQ~QqoQ" target="_blank">sign up for here</a> (If you already have a solid idea and team, you have until April 9 to upload the project to<a href="http://theglobalhack.devpost.com" target="_blank"> Devpost</a>). Once the hack begins, you and your team have 48 hours to come up with a solution. The hack will begin with a kick-off session this Thursday, April 9, at 1 p.m. UTC and end on Sunday, April 12. Some examples of categories include arts and creativity, economy, environment, governance, mental health, and education. You then join the appropriate Slack channel for your idea. If you don't want to submit your own idea, there are also challenges that require partners, so you can join one of those. Right now, the prize pool is estimated at 120,000 euros, or about $130,000 U.S. dollars.</p><p>Teams building the solutions and prototypes will also be in contact with mentors—experts and professionals in certain categories—who can help them bring their ideas to fruition. For example, if you developed an idea and needed help with the legal logistics, there would be a legal specialist who could talk you through it. Additionally, each track is lead by an inspirational line-up of entrepreneurs and global leaders including Steve Jurvetson, co-found of Future Ventures and board member at Tesla and SpaceX; the current and former presidents of Estonia, Kersti Kaljulaid and Toomas Hendrik Ilves; and former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov, a past<a href="https://bigthink.com/how-can-we-promote-innovation-2" target="_self"> Big Think expert</a>.<br></p>
Thinking beyond coronavirus<p>While the idea behind the Global Hack is to tackle the COVID-19 crisis, Pops says that they are tackling the crisis through systematic solutions that reach further than just the virus.</p><p> "We want to make sure that the solutions that come out of it apply to a world after the crisis as well," she explains. As an example, she points to the SUVE bot invention as being an ideal solution because, while for now it may be utilized to help people understand what is going on with the health crisis, a year from now it may be a revolutionary way for governments to speak to their citizens. </p><p>"Those are the winning ideas, [those] that can be put into practice after the crisis as well," says Pops. </p><p>The concept of the hackathon might itself be one of those winning ideas. By uniting brilliant minds from around the globe with field experts, the Global Hack rapidly streamlines the process of a great idea becoming a real-life solution. Innovations that would have taken half a year under normal circumstances happen in days. </p><p>Because anyone motivated to act can participate, the hack also democratizes the chance to create a world-changing invention or prototype. </p><p>"There are some people who are joining who have had some resemblance of an idea for a long time but this gives them the platform to just do it super quickly and super well," says Pops. "And of course I think it gives people a lot of purpose as well." </p><p><a href="https://theglobalhack.com/?fbclid=IwAR2TsChL75i9p3Av4hHuwO-Nnc8Ue73PSTclxnsoIUOYPcEn2w4Nzuzek3Q" target="_blank">Join the Global Hackathon here.</a></p>
How can we track the spread of COVID-19 where testing is not widely available? How can global health be improved by innovation and cooperation? Over the last few years, Kinsa has given away or sold millions of internet-connected thermometers to households across the US to collect data that can help predict and prevent flu outbreaks in US communities. Now, that smart tech is being leveraged to create the only real-time map of the coronavirus spread. In this live session with Kinsa founder and CEO Inder Singh, you'll learn how innovation can help us map global health threats, the best personal health practices during the COVID-19 outbreak, and why innovation in the health sector is critical to our global future.
About Kinsa's Smart Thermometer<p>Kinsa's mission is to create the world's first real-time map of human health to empower society with the information to track and stop the spread of disease. Kinsa gathers the data to map health using smartphone-connected sensors. It produces an ultra-low-cost smartphone-connected thermometer. By combining a thermometer with a smartphone, Kinsa "turns a thermometer into a communication device" with people who have just fallen ill. In addition to providing a temperature readout, this thermometer, marketed as the "world's smartest thermometer," tracks symptoms, enables one to get advice directly from a medical professional, and see the "health weather" in the local area to know whether flu or strep throat is circulating. Using the smartphone display and audio, it is also designed to ease taking a child's temperature by creating an engaging experience for both a child and parent.</p>
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