Scientists who flew an airplane equipped with sensors through the plume of natural gas leaking into the Porter Ranch area have found that at its peak, the nearly four-month leak released roughly 100,000 tons of methane — effectively doubling the methane emissions rate of the entire Los Angeles Basin.

The findings, published by the journal Science, cement the leak’s position as the largest methane leak in U.S. history — and highlight the need for rapid scientific response if and when such disasters do strike.

“Aliso Canyon will be, certainly, the biggest single source of the year,” said co-lead author Stephen Conley, of UC Davis and Scientific Aviation. “It’s definitely a monster.”


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