Methane gas levels begin to increase again

Oct 29, 2008

The amount of methane in Earth's atmosphere shot up in 2007, bringing to an end a period of about a decade in which atmospheric levels of the potent greenhouse gas were essentially stable, according to a team led by MIT researchers.

Methane levels in the atmosphere have more than doubled since pre-industrial times, accounting for around one-fifth of the human contribution to greenhouse gas-driven global warming. Until recently, the leveling off of methane levels had suggested that the rate of its emission from the Earth's surface was approximately balanced by the rate of its destruction in the atmosphere.

However, since early 2007 the balance has been upset, according to a paper on the new findings being published this week in Geophysical Review Letters. The paper's lead authors, postdoctoral researcher Matthew Rigby and Ronald Prinn, the TEPCO Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry, in MIT's Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Science, say this imbalance has resulted in several million metric tons of additional methane in the atmosphere. Methane is produced by wetlands, rice paddies, cattle, and the gas and coal industries, and is destroyed by reaction with the hydroxyl free radical (OH), often referred to as the atmosphere's "cleanser."

One surprising feature of this recent growth is that it occurred almost simultaneously at all measurement locations across the globe. However, the majority of methane emissions are in the Northern Hemisphere, and it takes more than one year for gases to be mixed from the Northern Hemisphere to the Southern Hemisphere. Hence, theoretical analysis of the measurements shows that if an increase in emissions is solely responsible, these emissions must have risen by a similar amount in both hemispheres at the same time.

A rise in Northern Hemispheric emissions may be due to the very warm conditions that were observed over Siberia throughout 2007, potentially leading to increased bacterial emissions from wetland areas. However, a potential cause for an increase in Southern Hemispheric emissions is less clear.

An alternative explanation for the rise may lie, at least in part, with a drop in the concentrations of the methane-destroying OH. Theoretical studies show that if this has happened, the required global methane emissions rise would have been smaller, and more strongly biased to the Northern Hemisphere. At present, however, it is uncertain whether such a drop in hydroxyl free radical concentrations did occur because of the inherent uncertainty in the current method for estimating global OH levels.

To help pin down the cause of the methane increase, Prinn said, "the next step will be to study this using a very high-resolution atmospheric circulation model and additional measurements from other networks." But doing that could take another year, he said, and because the detection of increased methane has important consequences for global warming the team wanted to get these initial results out as quickly as possible.

"The key thing is to better determine the relative roles of increased methane emission versus an increase in the rate of removal," Prinn said. "Apparently we have a mix of the two, but we want to know how much of each" is responsible for the overall increase.

It is too early to tell whether this increase represents a return to sustained methane growth, or the beginning of a relatively short-lived anomaly, according to Rigby and Prinn. Given that, pound for pound, methane is 25 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, the situation will require careful monitoring in the near future.

Source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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GIR
3.4 / 5 (8) Oct 29, 2008
http://www.physor...243.html

They come in people sizes too (^.^)
RAL
3.4 / 5 (15) Oct 29, 2008
"Methane is produced by wetlands..."

Quick, destroy the wetlands before it is too late! Anything to prevent the imminent catastrophe of Gorebal Warming! (Hey they want us to destroy the world economy, why not toss in the wetlands while we are at it?)
MikeB
3.2 / 5 (13) Oct 29, 2008
I know that with the drop in the dollar and the overall loss of liquidity worldwide, most people have had to eat more beans. I am certain that this is the proximate cause of increased methane levels. The only answer, of course, is to remove people from this planet. Or the UN could subsidize Beano production worldwide and distribute it with packages and cans of beans. This is obviously a planetary emergency and we must act within ten years or we will not like the smell of this Earth of ours.
Another strategy which has been used in bathrooms for many years is to strike a match at the first sign of methane leakage. :)
GrayMouser
3.5 / 5 (11) Oct 29, 2008
...Another strategy which has been used in bathrooms for many years is to strike a match at the first sign of methane leakage. :)


That creates CO2 and particulates (as well as 1st degree burns.)
mikiwud
2.7 / 5 (14) Oct 30, 2008
Didn't notice any numbers,is it another IPCC style guesstimation?
I suppose,for them,its better than saying "Hey lads,have you noticed the world is getting colder?"
Roach
3.3 / 5 (9) Oct 30, 2008
I'm sorry everyone, this is actually my fault. I have been kind of easting junk food this year and have had um... increased... flatulance. I tried to get rid of it by eating healthy even switched to a vegitarian lifestyle, but the bean and broccoli diet did nothing to help... in order to save the human race I will endevor to take a gas-x with every meal. Don't worry little people, I will save you.

Back to reality though, Why is it that the AGW crowd varies the co2 to ch4 factor from 18x to 70x(25x in this article) depending on which paper you read?
lengould100
5 / 5 (8) Oct 30, 2008
You guys are a joke.
Egnite
2.9 / 5 (8) Oct 30, 2008
And next weeks news....

Our calculations were all wrong, infact there's xxx more methane in the atmosphere than previously measured.

And the reaction is still - who gives a rats ass?
dlp
3.7 / 5 (6) Oct 30, 2008
I have seen numerous mentions of melting of permafrost layers causing a huge increase in methane, even to the extent of it visibly bubbling to the surface of the sea off Svalbard. Wonder why this isn't mentioned?
yor_on
2.1 / 5 (8) Oct 30, 2008
Now, you gotta differ between man made methane/CO2 and 'natural':)
And 'GIR'. What they are discussing there (your link) do sounds rather stupid.

I can't help but wonder whose errands those folks are running, them self unwittingly?
In Russia they have a word for those 'going their ways / errands' out of unthinking ideology etc.
They call them 'Useful idiots' and it is said to originate with Lenin:)
So which people would have an interest in ridiculing 'global warming'?
Ah well, beats me:)

It sounds a little like planning to draw pipelines into the oceans, pushing down our man-made CO2 from plants etc, breaking down our oceans even faster than they already are dying.

There are already areas where fish and plankton can't live, and as the oceans become more and more acidified less and less living organisms will be able to survive there.

And for those of you that don't give a sh* about such stuff:)
That's one of our first sources of food and life ,goggle on 'human food chain'.

"Last week there was a report published in the Journal of Science that stated that the number of these ocean dead zones around the world has doubled every decade since the 1960s. There are now some 400 coastal areas that periodically or perpetually become dead due to oxygen starved bottom waters.

While the size of these dead zones is small relative to the total surface of the oceans, they account for a significant percentage of ocean waters that support commercial shellfish and fish species. This is due to the fact that these zones occur in areas that have historically been prime fishing grounds since these grounds are close to dense human populations.

In recent years there have been consistent dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico, Chesapeake Bay, the Baltic Sea, the coastal areas of China and even the Kattegat Sea where the Norwegian lobster industry has been decimated.. There is now a regular dead zone off the coast of the Pacific Northwest that was mentioned in the column two years ago.

The developing problem with these dead zones is that over time entire species are killed off. Additionally, they are preventing the rebound of many species that are under protection due to over fishing. We have over fished the oceans and are now creating dead zones on the coasts of all continents.

We have often referred to our planet as Planet Earth. That is because we are land animals. Actually, with oceans covering close to 70% of the surface of the planet, a better name would be Planet Ocean. We know how we have polluted and damaged the land on which we live. We are now doing the same to the 70% of the planet where we don't live. "

And without any life in the oceans, what do you think will happen to land based organisms?

"All countries in the world depend for their big percentage of food from sea specially countries like Japan will get most affected.

This will put burden on the vegetation on the earth. But since many birds which survive on marine life will no longer exist, even the pollination of many vegetables will stop.

This also means that corals will die and in such condition parts of Australia and many islands which survive tsunamis till now, will be in danger.

And also as the scavengers of sea will not be living, the debris, rubbish whatever rivers throw in the ocean will slowly make the ocean dirty."

And then we have the clouds that take up water, pollen and organisms from the ocean and spread it over our globe as a giant breathing organism. What will it breath out then, acidic water molecules?

Also you should know that at

The real problem with methane isn't Cows without diapers, it's the tundra, the wetlands and all those artificial 'manures' that we use, primarily for rice crops.

Also there are the deposits hiding in frozen so-called gas hydrates, that forms on land or under the sea.

There are enormous deposits under the oceans and if the temperature continuous to rise it will be released at some time.

And the depth (2000 meters to 10 000 meters) they are at makes it very hard to extract and use as a energy source as some ahh:) loves to promise us.

The same 'people' I would guess that happily are planning for that 'oil and gas bonanza' to come.
You know, as soon as that last irritating ice and wild life are gone from 'their Arctic':)

"Gas hydrates are a potential energy source found in permafrost environments and under the sea floor.

They form when water and methane gas come together under extreme pressure and in a cold environment.

The water and gas are frozen together at a molecular level. One cubic metre of gas hydrates contains 164-cubic-metres of methane gas, and 0.8 cubic metres of water."

And in Siberia Oerjan Gustafsson of Stockholm University in Sweden told the Independent newspaper in an email from the vessel Jacob Smirnitskyi.

"
"An extensive area of intense methane release was found. At earlier sites we had found elevated levels of dissolved methane.

"Yesterday, for the first time, we documented a field where the release was so intense that the methane did not have time to dissolve into the seawater but was rising as methane bubbles to the sea surface. These 'methane chimneys' were documented on echo sounder and with seismic [instrument]."

At some locations he said concentrations of the gas were 100 times the background level. These anomalies were documented in the East Siberian Sea and the Laptev Sea, covering several tens of thousands of square kilometres.

Gustafsson added: "The conventional thought has been that the permafrost 'lid' on the sub-sea sediments on the Siberian shelf should cap and hold the massive reservoirs of shallow methane deposits in place.

"The growing evidence for release of methane in this inaccessible region may suggest that the permafrost lid is starting to get perforated and thus leaking methane."

Estimates for the amount of carbon locked up in the hydrates vary from 500 to 5000 gigatonnes. Scientists predict that warming will release some of these deposits, but modeling the temperature rise that would trigger significant releases has proved extremely difficult."

That is what's going to accelerate our planets temperature.
Methane is twenty one times more 'heat binding' than CO2.

Check out Canada, and the wildlife over there.
The polar bears should be gone in about thirty years (my guess:)

And for every new patch that became ice free there will be an added warming, not caring if there will be methane released too.

So even if you don't believe in it, you should yet try to check if out for your self.
And perhaps, try to make a educated guess of your own, based on knowledge.
Instead of on ridicule.

Regards.
Yoron.
yor_on
2.9 / 5 (7) Oct 30, 2008
I forgot to point out that in the Arctic (and antarctic) they can lie much more shallow as it have been so extremly cold there historically.

But before we can use it as our 'new energy source' my guess is that those bubbles of methane will be so 'spread out' from all over the sea beds, that it will be impossible for us to 'catch them':)

It's not 'one oil/gas hole' we are talking about here. It's myriads small ones, from all over, releasing it.

Natural_Philosopher
3.1 / 5 (9) Oct 30, 2008
to Yor_on
A greater ASS I never met. Has your entire education consisted of reading or perhaps writing the cyncal End-of-the-World entreaties to SEND MONEY to some cynical Environmental organizarion so its Directors can fleece the Sheep and not have to work?

It would appear so.

yor_on
2.1 / 5 (7) Oct 30, 2008
Wow, you can write:)
and you definitely got disturbed too.

But then again.
judging by your outbreak here.
You probably already was, right?
ah, disturbed that is.

Anyway, if you find me wrong, do tell:)
Take care now.

Yoron.
Egnite
2.3 / 5 (6) Oct 31, 2008
What a tit. Where'd u copy and paste that crap from moron? Not that I've read it, would rather read bbc's tripe than yours.
yor_on
2.8 / 5 (8) Oct 31, 2008
I'm sorry that you find it offensive Egnite.
But it's as you say, mostly copied and then pasted.
That's why i put those parts inside quotes.

Still:)
It is correct as far as I know.
But you're welcome to refute it.
But you can't, can you.

I wrote it as I got tired on those jesters whose only goal seem to be ridiculing those that do try to find out things about our environment.

And yes, I know it is no fun reading it.
I didn't have that fun writing it either.
Did you know that the CO2 cycle is, at least, fifty years?
That means that even if we stopped all man made CO2 today it would still take us fifty years before we will notice it.

Put that together with what i wrote about Methane whose global man-made methane emissions are estimated to total about 320 million tonnes each year and are expected to have an atmospheric cycle of ten to twelve years.

Yeah we have a serious recession world wide.
But this is worse.

Cheers
Yoron.
mikiwud
2 / 5 (8) Nov 01, 2008
Have a look at http://www.wattsupwiththat.com
Being as the increase has happened at the same rate almost at the same time globally,it is probably has a natural cause.
yor_on
2.7 / 5 (6) Nov 02, 2008
Another skeptic I see.
At least it's better than the outright ridicule some of those tried before.
But it do get tiresome.

Velanarris
3.4 / 5 (5) Nov 02, 2008
Another skeptic I see.
At least it's better than the outright ridicule some of those tried before.
But it do get tiresome.

A good skeptic is a defender of truth. They find the faults in arguments that base themselves on rhetoric and expose the lacks and absences in logic of which there are many in this debate.

jeffsaunders
5 / 5 (3) Nov 02, 2008
The fact that this measured increase in Methane has occurred both Northern and Southern Hemisphere at same time sort of eliminates the permafrost release from the equation. It also eliminates man made source from the equation because the Southern Hemisphere does not have as much Industry as the North.

That could leave the Ocean I suppose or it could leave errors in measurement. When something like that occurs all over at the same time I would suspect a difference in instrument calibration and instead of releasing the news early as these "Scientists" have done I would confirm my source first.

What does interest me is the reported observation of melting Permafrost Methane bubbling up all across the Siberia Arctic.

I just want to know why that was not evident within this latest "news" report.

Am I getting my leg pulled?
Velanarris
3 / 5 (4) Nov 03, 2008
The fact that this measured increase in Methane has occurred both Northern and Southern Hemisphere at same time sort of eliminates the permafrost release from the equation. It also eliminates man made source from the equation because the Southern Hemisphere does not have as much Industry as the North.

That could leave the Ocean I suppose or it could leave errors in measurement. When something like that occurs all over at the same time I would suspect a difference in instrument calibration and instead of releasing the news early as these "Scientists" have done I would confirm my source first.

What does interest me is the reported observation of melting Permafrost Methane bubbling up all across the Siberia Arctic.

I just want to know why that was not evident within this latest "news" report.

Am I getting my leg pulled?


How exactly does permafrost exist under the ocean?

Realistically it can't. So how the methane gets there is in question.

There's a lot of talk in geolical circles about a period of increased volcanism starting. This would be a likely cause for Methane increases.
gragg
5 / 5 (3) Nov 03, 2008

How exactly does permafrost exist under the ocean?

Realistically it can't. So how the methane gets there is in question.


I guess he is talking about methane hydrate.
OOTWOguy
2.2 / 5 (6) Nov 03, 2008
I blame some of the guys I hang out with. They contribute more than 1% of all methane in question I am certain. I have not done the scientific research, but I am guessing I am close.

Aaron
www.ootwo.com
yor_on
2.6 / 5 (5) Nov 06, 2008
You serious? Velanarris??
" The fact that this measured increase in Methane has occurred both Northern and Southern Hemisphere at same time sort of eliminates the permafrost release from the equation.

It also eliminates man made source from the equation because the Southern Hemisphere does not have as much Industry as the North."

I know that in the land of the blind the one eyed man is said to be the king, but your statements there??

they are so ...
Moronic.. Might be the word here?

I give up on you guys, do you get paid by the oil industry to spread this dung?
You don't want to read up on anything do you guys.
You just want spread your misconceptions as the 'divine word of gospel'.

Do I got a treat for you:)
It's called Global Warming.
And it's not fantasized up by any American, Al Gore included.

And it don't f*ng care for your 'brilliant' fart comments either dudes.
It's waiting around the corner, and your hiding your heads in the sand wont stop it.

So spread your 'jokes' if you like.
It won't change a thing.

But if you instead had tried to read up on it, it just might have had.

Velanarris
3 / 5 (2) Nov 28, 2008
I know that in the land of the blind the one eyed man is said to be the king, but your statements there??

they are so ...
Moronic.. Might be the word here?

I give up on you guys, do you get paid by the oil industry to spread this dung?
You don't want to read up on anything do you guys.
You just want spread your misconceptions as the 'divine word of gospel'.

Do I got a treat for you:)
It's called Global Warming.
And it's not fantasized up by any American, Al Gore included.


1)Methane is not a well mixed gas in our atmosphere due to it's relative density.

2) You call my comments moronic but don't supplant any evidence to that fact.

3) You post with alarm, but nothing to alarm us to.

4) Read a book, preferably a book on how the atmosphere works, maybe even a few papers on the chemical attribute of methane in the atmosphere, or the energy budget of the sun attributed to IR absorption by methane.

Better yet, don't speak to things you don't know simply because you feel jsutified by the mob mentality that is the AGW movement.

RAL
not rated yet Jan 30, 2009
Velanarris - I'm intrigued by the fat checks apparently being distributed by 'big oil' to those skeptical about the Church of Global Warming. Have you been getting them? You think maybe they accidently deleted my address from the payroll?

lol, how intellectually bankrupt do you have to be to claim that anyone questioning your cherished beliefs must be getting paid off by "them".
Velanarris
not rated yet Jan 30, 2009
Velanarris - I'm intrigued by the fat checks apparently being distributed by 'big oil' to those skeptical about the Church of Global Warming. Have you been getting them? You think maybe they accidently deleted my address from the payroll?

lol, how intellectually bankrupt do you have to be to claim that anyone questioning your cherished beliefs must be getting paid off by "them".

One could ask you the same thing about the oil industry.

You do realize that the IPCC and UN received several hundred million from the oil companies to study climate change. Does that mean that the primary supporters of the AGW movement are in big oil's pocket as well?
yor_on
5 / 5 (1) Feb 22, 2009
You do seem to know it all guys:)
And scientific to boot.

Expressive, an no, impressive?
Nah, not really:)

So you are saying that the oil companies is behind 'global warming' then?

News to me:)

The lobbying they do may not be as blatant as what you guys are doing, but considering your attitude and unwillingness to learn, it do seems to work
http://money.cnn....pstories

"Exxon has been criticized in the past for funding groups that promote what many experts believe to be junk science.

"This has become a strategy of Exxon's over the years," said Hoover. "The number one way to fight Kyoto was to insert doubt into people's mind."

A recent report from the Union of Concerned Scientists said Exxon spent $16 million between 1998 and 2005 funding 43 "organizations that seek to confuse the public on global warming science."

According to Exxon's Web site, the company contributed $240,000 to AEI in 2005 and a similar amount in 2004. An Exxon (Charts) spokesman said the company continues to donate to AEI, but said it does not control what the group does."

although even those are forced to see that 'global warming' exists. The next battle here seems to be between 'interest groups' wanting centralized power sources and those believing in utilize all kinds of sources like water, geothermic, sun energy etc.

And that is of course the struggle between those seeing nuclear power to be our 'salvation' and those wondering about the waste problems that just seem to grow year after year.

I'm not to impressed with the views shown here mates.

Cheers
Yoron.
yor_on
not rated yet Feb 22, 2009
Ok then, Another recent look at 'our' friendly oil companies.
http://www.triple...es-a.php

As for nuclear power plants.
Read this..
http://www.physfo...ic=24148&view=findpost&p=401911
Look at my second posting there from 'Feb 20 2009'..

And understand that it is all about power and money.
And that goes for power companies, as well as for governments.

Look at Putin's manipulations of the oil flowing to Europe for a recent example. Decentralized power sources mean less centralized control over people. If you get your energy from renewable sources near where you living, without the waste problems and poisoning created by nuclear energy everyone should benefit from it, except those wanting to control that flow of energy for their own greed and power.

You know, it's not impossible to see this.
Just use those minds of yours a little more.
Instead of your mouths:)
yor_on
not rated yet Feb 22, 2009
the links don't seem to work here?
That's strange..
I'll give them again, and we will see.
Oil.
http://www.triple...es-a.php

And about Nuclear energy...
http://www.physfo...ic=24148
(Look at my second posting there from 'Feb 20 2009'.)
Velanarris
not rated yet Feb 23, 2009
You know, it's not impossible to see this.
Just use those minds of yours a little more.
Instead of your mouths:)


Firstly that was natural gas, it was also the fault of the Ukranian government as much as the Russians. Secondly, no one wants a single entity to deliver their power but let me ask you, what are your alternatives for always on electricity? I live mostly off the grid, that's about 20k invested in solar and 5k invested in geothermal. They were professionally engineered and installed and all of this within the past 4 months, so they're pretty close to the newest thing you can get. I still require energy delivery from the local power company.
yor_on
not rated yet Feb 23, 2009
Yes, it was natural gas. Sorry about that, can one blame it on being in the 'heat' of argumentation?

Still, the importance of it is not in what type of energy it consisted of. More in the 'manipulations' of it. And that doesn't have to do with 'whom' to blame for that manipulation, do you agree?

And yes, you are correct in that we will need a lot of diversified 'power sources' for our energy consumption. We will also need to reduce it as well as we can. As for how much more geothermal and sun, wind, water energy you can rely on will be decided by peoples attitudes (political decisions) and geographical location.

And that's why I write about it.
If you looked at my last link you can see for yourself what 'waste management' we have for nuclear wastes.

Cheers
Yoron.

What I am arguing for is that we should 'exploit' those resources first, and that's only common sense.
lengould100
not rated yet Mar 10, 2009
I notice a lot of shutting up since the quote about Exxon paying big money to useful anti-AGWer's. Maybe you've hurt the kiddies feelings, like how come knowledgeable anti-AGWer's get paid and these ones don't?
Velanarris
not rated yet Mar 11, 2009
I notice a lot of shutting up since the quote about Exxon paying big money to useful anti-AGWer's. Maybe you've hurt the kiddies feelings, like how come knowledgeable anti-AGWer's get paid and these ones don't?

Len, are you going ot do this along every conversation that died out a month prior? Looks like you're following right along the AGW camp directive of "cherry pick your data so it can be manipulated properly".