Technologies and scientific advances needed to track methane levels in atmosphere

ScienceDaily | 12/10/2019 | Staff
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Methane is the second most important human-made greenhouse gas and is rising in the atmosphere more rapidly than predicted for reasons that are not well-understood. It is roughly 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide for warming the Earth over a century timescale.

Reductions in global methane emissions are needed to meet global climate warming targets. The goal of the 2015 Paris Agreement is to keep global average temperature increases well below 2 Celsius degrees of pre-industrial levels in the year 2100.

Success - Hinges - Countries - Greenhouse - Gas

Success hinges on individual countries reducing their greenhouse gas emission through their Nationally Determined Contributions, which will be evaluated every five years in a global stock-take.

A new paper published today and led by climate scientists from the University of Bristol, explains the new technologies and scientific advances needed to track progress of these reductions.

Half - Methane - Atmosphere - Sources - Wetlands

Around half of the methane that is emitted to the atmosphere comes from natural sources, including wetlands and geological seeps.

The remainder is emitted from agriculture, fossil fuel use, and other human activities. Because methane is such a potent absorber of radiation in the atmosphere and because it is decays in the atmosphere faster than carbon dioxide, planned atmospheric concentration pathways that meet the Paris Agreement seek to cut anthropogenic methane emissions by almost half of present-day levels.

'budget - Methane - Sum - Sources - 'sinks

The 'budget' of atmospheric methane is the sum of the different individual sources and 'sinks' (the removal of methane from the atmosphere) that alter the total amount of methane in the atmosphere.

Dr Anita Ganesan, from the University of Bristol's School of Geographical Sciences and lead author of the paper, said: "There are major challenges in our ability to quantify this budget, and these challenges make it difficult to assess whether the emission reductions pledged for the Paris Agreement are actually occurring."

Study - Highlights - Technologies

The new study highlights exciting new technologies being used to measure...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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