Researchers from University of California, Santa Barbara, conducted an extensive sampling of atmospheric methane concentrations along transects from the Southwest and moving towards Huston.
The scientists used a gas chromatograph to measure methane, since this gas traps a lot more heat than carbon dioxide and presents a major concern for climate change.
In areas where high concentrations were detected, the team tried to outline the possible sources. Ira Leifer and her team sampled cities, swamps and rural areas.
They used a combination of on-the-ground and aerial measurements, which allowed them to identify fugitive emissions from fossil-fuel industries as the main source of methane.
Considering that methane is one of the most dangerous greenhouse gases, the scientists urged that these emissions should be reduced if climate change is to be mitigated.