Increasing Levels of Methane in Air
As per new research, the levels of methane have been rising potently since 2007. This had stopped happening twenty years back when the level of methane had dropped and the fears had subsided in the minds of the scientists. The chunk of the problem is not yet clear and is breaching the levels of Paris Climate Accord. The various sections and basis of this accord was that by this time, the methane levels would have dropped owing to various efforts as subscribed and the time required to fight carbon dioxide emissions would be possible. However, Euan Nisbet, an earth scientist at Royal Holloway, University of London, and lead author of a recent study reported that the growth of atmospheric methane is accelerating.
There is much less methane in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide but is a trapper of heat and is increasing the heat levels of earth’s surface. The interesting fact is that about 1 ton of methane can trap as much as 32 times heat as in one ton of CO2 over a period of a century.
Methane is usually produced in the absence of oxygen when organic entities breakdown and are released. Various wetlands and landfills which are waterlogged along with peat bogs, sediments as well as forest fires produce methane in the natural way.
However, now human activities are the main cause. With large scale fossil fuel operations mainly used in agriculture — specifically in raising cattle, give rise to methane in their guts which is another largest reason. Another reason are the masses of waste that rot in landfills and give rise to methane in large quantities.
During the last 10,000 years, methane concentration on the Earth’s atmosphere has been below 750 parts per billion, or ppb. It started increasing during the 19th century and has continued to grow till the mid-1990s. At the same time it has been causing up to one-third the planet to warm tremendously and this has been happening since the Industrial Revolution.