Effect of methane on climate change could be 25% greater than we thought

January 10, 2017
Effect of methane on climate change could be 25% greater than we thought
Credit: University of Reading

Methane emissions caused by human activity may have a bigger impact on global warming than previously thought, scientists have found.

Research led by the University of Reading indicates that emissions of due to have, to date, caused a warming effect which is about one-third of the warming effect due to emissions – this methane contribution is 25% higher than previous estimates.

Professor Keith Shine, Regius Professor of Meteorology and Climate Science at the University of Reading, said: "These new calculations are important, not only for quantifying methane's contribution to human-induced , but also for countries looking to reduce their emissions to meet international targets on climate change, especially if those countries are significant emitters of methane.

"Our research re-affirms the scientific basis for focusing on , but also highlights that methane must not be ignored if the world wants to consider all options to curb ."

The study was carried out by scientists at the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading, UK, and at the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research – Oslo (CICERO), Norway.

The new study, by Maryam Etminan and colleagues, is published in the American Geophysical Union's journal Geophysical Research Letters. The full report is open access and freely available.

The scientists calculated that, while carbon dioxide remains by far the most significant gas driving human-induced climate change, methane, while much less abundant, is even more potent than previously thought. They found that a one tonne emission of methane has the equivalent warming effect of 32 tonnes of carbon dioxide – up from the previous estimate of 28.

While previous studies have focused on the role of methane in greenhouse trapping of the infrared energy emitted by the Earth and its atmosphere, this new study also took into account the way methane absorbs energy from the sun, at shorter wavelengths. It shows that much of the extra absorption is in the lower part of the atmosphere, where it has a warming effect.

"Clouds play a particularly important role in causing this enhanced warming effect," said Professor Ellie Highwood, University of Reading, one of the co-authors of the study.

"Clouds reflect some of the sun's rays back towards space, but by absorbing some of these scattered rays low down in the atmosphere, methane has an extra warming effect – a factor that was not considered by earlier studies."

"We used the same method for new calculations of carbon dioxide as for methane and found very similar result to earlier studies," said Dr Gunnar Myhre, CICERO, one of the co-authors of the study.

Human activity has led to more than a doubling of the atmospheric concentration of methane since the 18th century. Methane due to human activity come from agricultural sources, such as livestock, soil management and rice production, and from the production and use of coal, oil and natural gas.

Explore further: Methane in Arctic lake traced to groundwater from seasonal thawing

More information: M. Etminan et al. Radiative forcing of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide: A significant revision of the methane radiative forcing, Geophysical Research Letters (2016). DOI: 10.1002/2016GL071930

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syndicate_51
1 / 5 (5) Jan 10, 2017
Methane contributes more than that. Even the lower estimates put it at 25 times more effective as a greenhouse gas.

Throw in the fact we contribute 60% of the methane found there and pretty quickly you realize even if you cut the human emissions of CO2 to nothing the methane still dooms us!

LOLS!

Humanity solve its own problems!

Don't you pay attention to history!
Benni
1.7 / 5 (11) Jan 10, 2017
Methane contributes more than that. Even the lower estimates put it at 25 times more effective as a greenhouse gas.

Throw in the fact we contribute 60% of the methane found there and pretty quickly you realize even if you cut the human emissions of CO2 to nothing the methane still dooms us!


Human activity contributes nothing to 99.9999999% of atmospheric methane,

The natural gas industry does not manufacture methane, most of it is outgassed from the surface of the world's oceans & the remaining from volcano emissions, I won't include cow farts & swampland, & oil/gasfield emissions because it is so small as to be immeasurable & you can't prove differently.

ALL the methane that exists everywhere in the world was somehow manufactured by non-human sources, so if you seriously think the existence of methane will soon cause a worldwide apocalypse, it should have happened hundreds of millions of years ago.

humy
4.6 / 5 (13) Jan 10, 2017

Human activity contributes nothing to 99.9999999% of atmospheric methane,


Benni

The evidence of science says this is simply false because human activity contributes more than half of the current atmospheric methane;

https://en.wikipe..._methane
"...Global methane levels, had risen to 1800 parts per billion (ppb) by 2011, an increase by a factor of 2.5 since pre-industrial times, from 722 ppb, the highest value in at least 800,000 years.
...
Anthropogenic sources of atmospheric methane

Slightly over half of the total emission is due to human activity.[10] Since the Industrial Revolution humans have had a major impact on concentrations of atmospheric methane, increasing atmospheric concentrations roughly 250%.[35] ..."
humy
4.6 / 5 (11) Jan 10, 2017

ALL the methane that exists everywhere in the world was somehow manufactured by non-human sources,


Benni

Just scroll down to "Anthropogenic sources of atmospheric methane" at https://en.wikipe..._methane
and read 8 different man made sources of current atmospheric methane explained in that link.

syndicate_51, at least about that, was at least mainly correct.
HeloMenelo
3.5 / 5 (8) Jan 10, 2017
Aaah antigoracle and his socks on a trolling spree again with nothing but hot air to add yet again....
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.3 / 5 (7) Jan 10, 2017
we contribute 60% of the methane
Heres another pie chart
http://www.giss.n...rces.jpg
Industrial Revolution humans have had a major impact on concentrations of atmospheric methane
-In reading your quote the impression is that industry is the source. But it is food production - rice and meat - that is the main problem.

And again if people werent eating rice and burgers they wuld be eating something else. The problem is overpopulation. Simply and clearly, too many people.

The cause is also obvious.
https://www.youtu...iTreKcCk

-If you can hold your nose long enough to get past the neonazis you will hear something even more repulsive... salafists describing their strategy for outgrowing and overrunning. Four wives apiece pumping out babies until it kills them. They TELL you this.

This is COMMON around the world among committed fundys of all conquering religions.

You want to stop AGW? Destroy these religions.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.7 / 5 (7) Jan 10, 2017
Xian - moslem - jew - hindu - sikh - buddhist. All have survived by growing faster than their now-extinct counterparts. And the more committed you are to your religion, the more involved you are in making and supporting large families.

Do you all understand how critical this problem is to our survival? The west has found ways of limiting growth by giving women alternatives to homemaking, And it has reduced the poisonous effects of religion by making them all equal.

But the result is an ever-increasing flood of excess people across all borders from religion-based cultures. People blame conflict for this flood, but war and revolution are only more symptoms of a common disease. What teddy roosevelt called 'warfare of the cradle'.

This is a far worse threat than fascism or communism. And the ONLY WAY to combat it is to turn these monster cultures against one another while protecting our own civilization from critical damage.

Which is pretty much what we are seeing.
Benni
1.5 / 5 (8) Jan 10, 2017
The evidence of science says this is simply false because human activity contributes more than half of the current atmospheric methane


HoHumbo...........the only people who believe this kind of slop & swill propaganda are those who have personal issues with successful Science Professionals, such as myself, who have myriads of college credits in Physical Sciences & math beyond your comprehension to imagine.

The scaremongering brigades of the undereducated, like you, who post here so frequently are just so much feedstock for entertainment for those of us who know better. But I do encourage you to keep it coming, the rational always needs reminders why "the sky is falling crowd" should never hold the reins of the political institutions of any country, like they do in Venezuela or Cuba.
humy
4.6 / 5 (11) Jan 10, 2017
The scaremongering brigades of the undereducated, like you,...


Benni

I have expertise with qualifications in science (mainly physics, chemistry, computer science, computer programming, modelling, computer simulation, mathematics and A.I. ) most of which come from university with good grades plus I am well self-educated in several other areas on science not listed there (such as biology, evolution).
In short, I am well educated; and presumably so are most other people that disagree with your unscientific opinions.

humy
4.6 / 5 (11) Jan 10, 2017
such as myself, who have myriads of college credits in Physical Sciences & math beyond your comprehension to imagine.


Benni

Sorry don't believe you, I find it too hard to imagine you having fantastic grades in science and yet get even the most basic well-established scientific facts, such as where most atmospheric methane currently comes from, so wildly wrong.
Can you show a scientific weblink that gives a scientific source that actually says or clearly implies
"Human activity contributes nothing to 99.9999999% of atmospheric methane, " ?
What is your evidence of this claim?
Show us your source...
antigoracle
1 / 5 (6) Jan 10, 2017
I have expertise with qualifications in science....

I did not know Trump had a sibling. You are "LIKE a smart person" too.
Benni
1.5 / 5 (8) Jan 10, 2017
I am well educated; and presumably so are most other people that disagree with your unscientific opinions.


Ho Humbo........if you were so well educated then you would already have known that 99.99999999% of all atmospheric methane has nothing to do with human existence on the planet, but because you don't acknowledge it, that is evidence you are just another product of the hot air climatology of AGW.

So, if you know so much about chemistry, why did you need me to inform you that the primary sources of atmospheric methane comes from the world's oceans, you didn't even know that until I told you about it. What is your excuse for not knowing methane sourcing if you're so well educated in all the physical sciences that you brag about? Hell's bells HoHumbo, all I wanted to do was cough & gag with laughter while reading the list of credits you gave yourself.
humy
5 / 5 (7) Jan 10, 2017


...if you were so well educated then you would already have known that 99.99999999% of all atmospheric methane has nothing to do with human existence on the planet,

No, I correct you yet again; over half of the current atmospheric methane is from man made sources and I already shown I can show science websites to support that claim.
Here is another;
http://whatsyouri...missions
and no science website nor science textbook claims there isn't currently a significant man made contribution to current atmospheric methane.
+ I can show references to various sources of evidence.

again I challenge you to provide evidence of this clam;
I have shown the sources of info for my claim what is your source of info for your claim?...
You cannot say. Nor can you show any science website that supports your claim. That's because you lie
Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (3) Jan 10, 2017
On a more topic related note -
Methane also happens to be a FLAMMABLE ghg. At 15%, "don't light that ma-..."
Whydening Gyre
4.3 / 5 (6) Jan 10, 2017
HoHumbo...........the only people who believe this kind of slop & swill propaganda are those who have personal issues with successful Science Professionals, such as myself, who have myriads of college credits in Physical Sciences & math beyond your comprehension to imagine.

A flaw in your logic -
this slop & swill" is being presented by "successful Science Professionals".
Name your Alma Mater.
Benni
1.7 / 5 (6) Jan 10, 2017
No I correct you yet again over half of the current atmospheric methane is from man made sources and I already shown I can show science websites to support that claim.
.Your link, not a science website, it's a literal cow fart site, another one of your HoHumbo links that mentions absolutely nothing about the major source of methane emissions into the atmosphere, OCEANS.

I guess you think cows far outnumber all the mammals & fishes of the ocean including the quantity of gas from their farts? Is that what you think?

With all the decaying byproducts of all the dead stuff from beneath the waves of a substance covering 75% of the planets surface, you stoically imagine that a mostly desolate dry surface harbors so much more life than is contained within the most ideal conditions in which life can exist, WATER.

I'd almost be willing to bet you whales, dolphins, sharks, penguins, big fish, outnumber all the landlocked cows by orders of magnitude along with their farts.

humy
4.6 / 5 (10) Jan 10, 2017
No I correct you yet again over half of the current atmospheric methane is from man made sources and I already shown I can show science websites to support that claim.
.Your link, not a science website,


Nope. It is scientific.
So show us just ANY one example of wedsite that you say is a "scientific website" but which supports your claim that 99.99999999% of all atmospheric methane has nothing to do with human existence on the planet...
ALL the credible websites on the subject contradict your claim. Why is that?
If that 99.99999999% is a known scientific fact, why isn't it reported on any website? Obviously, you lied and you still lie.
Benni
1 / 5 (6) Jan 10, 2017
HoHumbo:

https://www.whoi....he-ocean

If that 99.99999999% is a known scientific fact, why isn't it reported on any website? Obviously, you lied and you still lie.
.....unless you can come up with data that quantifies processes by which humans exchange another form of gas by converting it to methane, I'm dead on the money.

ALL methane humans use comes from natural processes involving no manmade conversion processes. All the methane with which we heat our homes & businesses come from natural processes a couple thousand feet beneath our feet, all we do is tap into & pipe it to where we want it. Manmade landfill sourced methane is only an indiscernible bump in the statistics of the total amount recovered & used.

axemaster
4.5 / 5 (8) Jan 10, 2017
To quote the 2013 IPCC report:

The atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide have
increased to levels unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years.


The atmospheric concentrations of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) have all increased since 1750 due to human activity. In 2011 the concentrations of these greenhouse gases were 391 ppm, 1803 ppb, and 324 ppb, and exceeded the pre-industrial levels by about 40%, 150%, and 20%, respectively.


So yeah, humans are obviously responsible, regardless of the exact mechanism.
Benni
1 / 5 (5) Jan 10, 2017
So yeah, humans are obviously responsible, regardless of the exact mechanism.


Hey Axeo, you're still peddling that bike right? Good, because living out here where I do I need the extra energy credits from those who are so willing to give them up. Well, yeah, I know, you didn't actually give them up to me willingly, I spent more money on gas than you do and I just took that energy from you whether you liked it or not.

antigoracle
1.6 / 5 (7) Jan 10, 2017
Wow, 25% greater warming and yet the planet has been cooling since 1998. Well, it's a good thing all of AGWism is based on settled "science"...er...or is that..unsettling lies.
Whydening Gyre
4.6 / 5 (5) Jan 10, 2017
Ok, Benni.
To be fair, our share of it is not man-made (except for those beans you had for dinner). But it IS sourced and intentionally released by humans in the form of food production, natural gas production, etc.
humy
4.4 / 5 (7) Jan 11, 2017


ALL methane humans use comes from natural processes involving no manmade conversion processes. All the methane with which we heat our homes & businesses come from natural processes a couple thousand feet beneath our feet, all we do is tap into & pipe it to where we want it.


Benni

Are you completely thick?
Obviously, nobody is claiming that most of the current atmospheric methane comes from the methane we use. Most of it comes from the methane we inadvertently produce and don't use.

yet again, I ask you just scroll down to "Anthropogenic sources of atmospheric methane" at

https://en.wikipe..._methane

and read the facts and then come back to us.

humy
5 / 5 (6) Jan 11, 2017
Manmade landfill sourced methane is only an indiscernible bump in the statistics of the total amount recovered & used.


Benni

Again, are you totally thick? What has the amount of methane we "recovered & used" got to do with it?
The methane we release doesn't come from what we "recovered & used" but rather from what we produce from our activities such as rice growing etc.

at

https://en.wikipe..._methane

it says landfills account for about 6% of total atmospheric methane release and that is just one of several man made sources of atmospheric methane that collectively make over half of the current total atmospheric methane release.
OBVIOUSLY, that release doesn't come from our "use" of it.

read the facts and then come back to us.
humy
5 / 5 (6) Jan 11, 2017
Wow, 25% greater warming and yet the planet has been cooling since 1998. Well,....

The climate has warmed since 1998 both over and in the oceans and on land

https://www.googl...VlK-M%3A

https://en.wikipe...maly.svg
Benni
1 / 5 (7) Jan 11, 2017
Obviously, nobody is claiming that most of the current atmospheric methane comes from the methane we use.
Atmospheric methane is 0.000179% of the total.

Most of it comes from the methane we inadvertently produce and don't use.
The only methane we intentionally produce is in the landfills we create so it can be used as fuel. What % of that leaks to the atmosphere? It doesn't matter because if we'd stop doing it there would be no leakage......dumb environmentalists & their hot airheaded advocacy for recovery of methane from landfills built for the express purpose of creating methane.

If you want to complain about methane created for food production, then be the first to set an example for reducing those levels & stop eating. After you cease from eating , you need to start an advocacy program and have all wetlands bulldozed over to prevent those methane emissions. Next, cap the open oceans & VOILA, soon you will have your paradise, a planet devoid of life.
axemaster
4.6 / 5 (9) Jan 11, 2017
The only methane we intentionally produce is in the landfills we create so it can be used as fuel. What % of that leaks to the atmosphere? It doesn't matter because if we'd stop doing it there would be no leakage......dumb environmentalists & their hot airheaded advocacy for recovery of methane from landfills built for the express purpose of creating methane.


Benni... has it ever occurred to you that maybe there are good reasons for the way things are being done? You may benefit from stepping back for a few minutes... and considering the possibility that you are suffering from the Dunning-Kruger effect.

https://en.wikipe...r_effect
Benni
1 / 5 (7) Jan 11, 2017
The atmospheric concentrations of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) have all increased since 1750 due to human activity. In 2011 the concentrations of these greenhouse gases were 391 ppm, 1803 ppb, and 324 ppb, and exceeded the pre-industrial levels by about 40%, 150%, and 20%, respectively.


Nothing like creating Fake Science News in your attempt to condense hundreds of millions of years of Climate Change into the past 267 years.

The problem with your Fake Science News releases is that the tactics of scaremongering the public in opening their wallets to the "oceans are overflowng" scare talk, is that finally the public is catching on that this stuff is just an Academician fund raising tactic by the charlatans of the of Fake & Dishonest Science Media, a tactic for which you are more than willing to offer a willing hand.

Benni
1 / 5 (7) Jan 11, 2017
Benni... has it ever occurred to you that maybe there are good reasons for the way things are being done?


.........yeah, fund raising for pet causes for the purpose of bilking unsuspecting targets out of their money, all the while mollifying them with words of comfort about the great benefits that will soon be on the horizon which end up never materializing.

In the end Axeo, it doesn't matter to me versus how much it matters to you, I've never had to ride a bike to work in a snowstorm like you did last week when your favorite campus was blanketed with half a foot of snow. Why don't you just buy a car & dump the bike, it was a dumb idea to begin with don't you think?

axemaster
5 / 5 (9) Jan 11, 2017
your attempt to condense hundreds of millions of years of Climate Change into the past 267 years


I'm trying to figure out what you're imagining here. All of the equipment to gather gases/temperature data has been available to the public for over a century. Scientists don't have a monopoly on collecting climate data. So the temperature and gas concentration changes have to be real, even if you think there's an academic conspiracy.

Fake & Dishonest Science Media

This doesn't even exist! "Science media" consists almost solely of journals that are circulated only among scientists. There's no public circulation to speak of, no money to be made through sensationalism. It's a different world.

Where are you coming up with this stuff? Right wing talk radio or something? You realize that they just make stuff up at random, right?
axemaster
5 / 5 (8) Jan 11, 2017
.........yeah, fund raising for pet causes for the purpose of bilking unsuspecting targets out of their money, all the while mollifying them with words of comfort about the great benefits that will soon be on the horizon which end up never materializing

Again, I'm not sure what you're referring to. I can't think of any scientists who do fundraising. I'd imagine it would be pretty career damaging if they did, it would look really bad. Perhaps you're thinking of some dishonest companies? But the scientific community isn't responsible for what some random company does...

I've never had to ride a bike to work in a snowstorm like you did last week when your favorite campus was blanketed with half a foot of snow. Why don't you just buy a car & dump the bike, it was a dumb idea to begin with don't you think?

Actually I walk during the winter, and it's only about 12 minutes to campus on foot so it doesn't bother me at all. Cambridge is very pedestrian-friendly.
axemaster
5 / 5 (8) Jan 11, 2017
I guess what throws me the most, is that all of the information you need to fully understand climate change is readily available for free. You can even build/buy your own instrumentation to do the measurements. All that's required is an investment of time and effort to learn the math and understand the physics and chemistry.

At the end of the day, if you want to have an opinion that other people will listen to, you need to have real knowledge. And that only comes through massive amounts of effort and dedication.

That's the real reason why we have so few scientists - they are the hardest working, most dedicated people out there. Jobs in academia pay very poorly.

That's also why the constant assault on science is so upsetting. It's a terrible thing when people tear down the work of scientists, harming the entire global community, in search of nothing more than PROFIT.

Well, I'm done. I always hope for people like you to improve, but sadly this almost never happens.
Benni
1 / 5 (8) Jan 11, 2017
So the temperature and gas concentration changes have to be real,


Hey, Axeo, they've been "real" for hundreds of millions of years.....When are you gonna get it? And guess what else? They're gonna be "real" for hundreds of millions of more years, even if humans revert to Neanderthal lifestyles surviving on a hunter/gatherer Paleo diet.

Perhaps you're thinking of some dishonest companies?


I'm referring to the contents of the Pop-Sci News cycles forged & authored by Academics who imagine they're smarter than everyone else & treat others with disdain & scorn when their Apocalyptic viewpoints are found to hold no water.

There's no public circulation to speak of, no money to be made through sensationalism. It's a different world.
.....then why are you clowns constantly coming to Congress begging for more taxpayer money for continued funding of your never ending pet research projects? We fund our own research with far better longterm results.

axemaster
4.9 / 5 (10) Jan 11, 2017
I'm referring to the contents of the Pop-Sci News cycles forged & authored by Academics who imagine they're smarter than everyone else & treat others with disdain & scorn when their Apocalyptic viewpoints are found to hold no water.

Can you give an example of what you're referring to here?

Hey, Axeo, they've been "real" for hundreds of millions of years.....When are you gonna get it? And guess what else? They're gonna be "real" for hundreds of millions of more years, even if humans revert to Neanderthal lifestyles surviving on a hunter/gatherer Paleo diet.

I get the feeling that we're talking about different things here... What exactly has been real for hundreds of millions of years?

.....then why are you clowns constantly coming to Congress begging for more taxpayer money for continued funding of your never ending pet research projects? We fund our own research with far better longterm results.

Who is "we"?
Cave_Man
5 / 5 (5) Jan 13, 2017
The problem is simple. There are several thousand to million cubic miles of methane trapped in hydrate under oceans, permafrost, arctic/antarctic ice. The few degrees Celsius that we contributed to warming has caused the cork to pop off and now there may not be a chance to put the stopper back in. End permian era was pretty nasty for multicellular life, estimates say 90%+ died out and single cell ocean life was hit pretty hard maybe 50% dead. End permian era was the last time this methane was released.
Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (4) Jan 14, 2017
On a more topic related note -
Methane also happens to be a FLAMMABLE ghg. At 15%, "don't light that ma-..."

which leads to -
floating clouds of it, ignited, would be explosive initially, burn for a while (sucking up a LOT of oxygen for a day or two) AND leave a pretty fine carbon deposit on the ground...
Can we make posit - regional mega fauna extinctions? Clovis?
novaman
5 / 5 (4) Jan 14, 2017
humans release the extra co2 that harms the planet
HeloMenelo
5 / 5 (3) Jan 14, 2017
benni aka antigoracle sock's head has been inflated by a cow fart, he just cannot get his head around understanding science :D
humy
5 / 5 (1) Jan 18, 2017
Benni

Obviously, nobody is claiming that most of the current atmospheric methane comes from the methane we use.
Atmospheric methane is 0.000179% of the total.

Relevance?
How does that contradict nobody is claiming that most of the current atmospheric methane comes from the methane we use?

Most of it comes from the methane we inadvertently produce and don't use.
The only methane we intentionally produce is in the landfills we create so it can be used as fuel.

Relevance?
How does that contradict most of atmospheric methane comes from the methane we inadvertently produce and don't use?

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