By: Jenna Steele
Summary: The second largest human-caused greenhouse gas is methane, right behind carbon dioxide. Methane is substantially stronger in the atmosphere compared to carbon dioxide and can stay in the atmosphere for about 12 years. Methane emissions come from natural gas, enteric fermentation (fermentation that happens in cattle digestive systems), manure, landfills, and coal mining. From the years 2008 to 2017 the total methane emissions in the world was around 596 million metric tons per year. This would be a 9% increase from the previous ten years, and it is still increasing in 2020. Before 2006 there are a slowdown in the amount of methane emissions, but since then there has been a steady increased in total emissions. By the end of 2019, the amount of methane in the atmosphere was 2.5 times higher than that of the emissions in pre-industrial times. Over the past few years, the largest component as to why methane emissions are rising are from agriculture, or consumption of red meat, and fossil fuels, or natural gas and leaking pipelines. By the end of 2020, in the equivalency of carbon dioxide metric tons the total emissions of methane are predicted to be around 9,390 metric tons. This would be the highest amount of methane in the atmosphere ever seen, and it does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon. The increasing global temperature, due to greenhouse gases such as methane, account for heat waves, drought conditions, loss of sea ice, sea level rise, and other intense weather patterns. Not only do these conditions mean hotter temperatures, but a potential loss in crops, species, and harmful weather to humans and animals.
Why we should care? Methane is a greenhouse gas which is found in ozone, which not only contributes to global warming but can also affect human health. We, as humans, currently are responsible for around 60% of total methane emissions worldwide.
I found this article interesting because it was incredibly informative, using statistics and figures from multiple scientific studies. The findings as to why the methane levels are rising that were stated in the article, were not at all surprising to me, but the fact that the emissions would be so high in the midst of a pandemic are astounding to me. The article also gives insights of scientist who study greenhouse gas emissions which I found to be more important than comments from politicians. The article also acknowledges the fact that we know where the high concentrations of emissions are coming from and the researchers believe that in order to get emissions down, there needs to be some reform on fossil fuels.
Science in Action.
Edward J Dlugokencky is an Atmospheric Chemist at NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).
As an atmospheric chemist, Dr. Edward Dlugokencky studies the carbon cycle and how it plays into climate change and greenhouse gases. He works closely with the Global monitoring Division of NOAA, which calculate and track global means of atmosphere gases at their marine sites monthly. At the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Dr. Dlugokencky, has done a multitude of studies, some of the most recent covering the carbon dioxide and methane emissions at marine surfaces. This relates the topic of my blog, the rise in global methane emissions, because marine surfaces account for water levels in oceans. Water levels in oceans are directly connected to increased global temperature due to the rise in greenhouse gas emissions, one being methane.