Extreme Texas Heat Linked to Giant Planet-Warming Methane Releases

A satellite passing over the Permian Basin documented 22 large plumes of unburned natural gas as some critical equipment was forced to shut down due to hot temperatures.

As record-breaking heat buckled pavement and hospitalized hundreds across Texas at the start of summer, another disruption occurred unseen: Operators in the largest US energy basin released hundreds of tons of natural gas into the air as crucial equipment was forced to shut down.

That unleashed a geyser of planet-warming methane, the main component of natural gas, into the atmosphere. The spurt of emissions wasn’t unprecedented; extremes of both hot and cold have wreaked havoc in the Permian Basin in the past.