Global emissions of methane into the atmosphere in 2017 rose nine percent compared to the period 2000-2006 and amounted to 596 million tons. According to a study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, the main contribution to the flow of this gas in the atmosphere contributed by human sources — burning of fossil fuels and intensive agriculture. The study authors noted that such trends may lead to an increase in temperature of 4.3 degrees Celsius compared with pre-industrial figures by 2100.
The concentration of methane in the Earth’s atmosphere are orders of magnitude lower than the concentration of carbon dioxide: 1875 ppb (parts per billion) vs 417 ppm (parts per million). However, the potential of methane as a greenhouse gas approximately 28 times greater than carbon dioxide due to its more efficient ability to absorb infrared radiation. The beginning of the XXI century (2000 to 2006) scientists see as the stabilization period in relation to methane emission to the atmosphere its amount remained almost unchanged. Now the concentration of this gas twice exceeded indicators of the pre-industrial era, and climatologists have to find out what sectors of the economy and features of nature were to reason.
Scientists led by Robert H. Jackson (Robert Jackson) from Stanford University analyzed how changing the flow of methane in the planet’s atmosphere from 2000 to 2017 using the available data of satellite observations and 13 biogeochemical models. Their goal was to study the influence of specific regions and sectors of the economy in the process.