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Urban-to-Rural Study Reveals High Methane Emissions in Boston

October 26, 2021
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An eddy-flux tower amid a green forest canopy

A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that methane emissions in Boston are 6 times higher than previous estimates, and deeply undercounted in state calculations. 

The study, by Harvard Forest research collaborators Lucy HutyraSteve Wofsy and colleagues, used long-term methane data from Harvard Forest as a rural benchmark for analyzing Boston methane data. The eddy-flux tower collecting the methane data has created oldest continuous dataset of its kind in the world. All data from the tower are publicly available (methane data are here).

The study also reveals the significant, emissions-reducing impact of COVID-19 shut-downs in the Boston region in 2020.

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