California methane well leak filled a Rose Bowl a day

Phys.org adopts stadium gas volume standard

The Pasadena Rose Bowl

We're delighted to report that Phys.org has adopted the "Rose Bowl" standard for quantifying improbably large amounts of gas.

In this report on the Aliso Canyon gas well blow-out which spewed vast quantities of methane into the Californian atmosphere, before finally being capped on 11 February, the website explains that at the peak of the disaster, enough gas was venting every day "to fill a balloon the size of the Rose Bowl".

For the benefit of readers not au fait with the Rose Bowl unit, it has its origins in the gigantic helium balloon which lifts NASA's Low Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD).

In attempting to illustrate the orb's vastness for mere mortal minds, NASA at first vaguely described the 963,000 cubic metre balloon as so big you could "fit a professional football stadium inside it".

Shortly thereafter, the space agency clarified that the fully-inflated envelope "would fit snugly into Pasadena's Rose Bowl".

The BBC has also deployed the Rose Bowl with regard to the Aliso Canyon blow-out, albeit in a non-official manner. Back in January, it noted that 11,296 individuals had been temporarily relocated as a result of the leak, enough to pack "176 double-decker buses"* or "12.2% of the Rose Bowl's seats during a UCLA football game".

Having used the Rose Bowl as a displaced persons yardstick, the Beeb was obliged to offer the gas volume output in terms of cow burbs. It reported the well was outgassing "30,300kg of methane into the atmosphere per hour", an annual total of 265,428,000kg, equivalent to the output of 1.77 million cows at a yearly average bovine methane burp production of 150kg. ®

Bootnote

*An official Reg unit, as shown in this vid featuring Vulture Central boffin Lucy Sherriff:




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