New Scientist reports that Google is now using Street View cars to detect methane leaks from corroded pipes, landfill sites and other sources.

Sensors strapped to the top of the cars have mapped hundreds of methane leaks around Boston, New York’s Staten Island and Indianapolis […]

Methane leaks are a triple threat: they can cause explosions, accelerate the growth of global warming and waste money. A study last year found that US methane emissions are 1.5 to 1.7 times higher than current estimates, a discrepancy that has been attributed to hard-to-detect leaks …

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Three Street View cars have been fitted with sensors capable of detecting methane and identifying the source of the leak. New Scientist says the three initial locations were chosen because each has a particular issue.

Many of the pipes in Boston and Staten Island are more than 50 years old and made of materials that are prone to corrosion, for example. Staten Island is also home to a massive landfill site – a likely source for undetected methane.

The Environmental Defense Fund has put the leak mapping online, showing clearly the difference between older and newer pipes.

Via Engadget

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