Atmospheric methane concentration at record levels

Global atmospheric concentration of methane has hit an all-time high — to 1,875 parts per billion (ppb) in 2019 from 1,866 ppb in 2018 — according to a new preliminary estimate released by the United States National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas — its potential to cause global warming is over 25 times that of carbon dioxide. Not only is the 2019 figure the highest since record-keeping began in 1983, the increase during the year was the second-largest single-year leap in over two decades.

— source | 16 Apr 2020

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Methane emissions are 70% higher than reported

Methane emissions from the oil, gas, and coal industries are 70 percent higher than official government estimates around the world, according to the International Energy Agency’s latest methane report released Wednesday. As demand for energy rebounds from its COVID-19-induced slump in 2020, the report highlights the need for improved methane monitoring and plugging leaks — fast.

Oil and gas companies churn out around 40 percent of human-produced methane. The invisible, odorless gas issues from pipelines, oil and gas wells, and the lines that shuttle gas into homes. Using the latest data from satellites and other measurement efforts, the IEA, a Paris-based energy watchdog, uncovered significant discrepancies between government figures and the reality of methane leaks.

Tackling methane is one of the best ways to keep global warming in check, the report says, and with gas prices hitting record highs, oil and gas companies could even profit by

— source | Lina Tran | Feb 24, 2022

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‘Monstrous’ Methane Plume Seen From Space Highlights Invisible Fracking Dangers

Environmental justice advocates on Wednesday pointed to a methane plume so large it was seen last month from space via satellite as the latest evidence that emissions of the potent fossil fuel must be reined in.

As Bloomberg reported Monday, the geoanalytics firm Kayrros SAS detected the plume of the invisible greenhouse gas, which spanned 56 miles and covered several parishes across Louisiana, on January 21.

The methane plume is the largest concentration of the gas seen via satellite in the U.S. since last October.

The firm said a plume of such size suggested an emissions rate of 105 tons of methane per hour. []–A release that lasted more than an hour at that rate would have had the same short-term environmental impact as yearly emissions from nearly 2,000 cars, Bloomberg reported.

— source | Julia Conley | Feb 16, 2022

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Porter Ranch Is Hit With Another Leak Again

Porter Ranch already experienced the largest recorded natural gas leak in U.S. history over the winter, when a leak at the Aliso Canyon Storage Facility spewed more than 97,000 metric tons of methane into the atmosphere. Thousands of families were evacuated during the nearly four-month long leak, which was sealed in February. Over the weekend, the neighborhood was hit with another natural gas leak. Residents had been complaining that the smell of natural gas, recognizable by a potent odorant, was again wafting through their Los Angeles neighborhood.

— source | 2016

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Oil and natural gas production emit more methane than previously thought

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is underestimating methane emissions from oil and gas production in its annual Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks, according to new research from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). The research team found 90 percent higher emissions from oil production and 50 percent higher emissions for natural gas production than EPA estimated in its latest inventory. The paper is published in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics.

— source Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences | Mar 26, 2021

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Locked greenhouse gases in submarine permafrost are emerging

Something lurks beneath the Arctic Ocean. While it’s not a monster, it has largely remained a mystery.

According to 25 international researchers who collaborated on a first-of-its-kind study, frozen land beneath rising sea levels currently traps 60 billion tons of methane and 560 billion tons of organic carbon. Little is known about the frozen sediment and soil — called submarine permafrost — even as it slowly thaws and releases methane and carbon that could have significant impacts on climate.

To put into perspective the amount of greenhouse gases in submarine permafrost, humans have released about 500 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution, said Sandia National Laboratories geosciences engineer Jennifer Frederick, one of the authors on the study published in IOP Publishing journal Environmental Research Letters.

— source DOE/Sandia National Laboratories | Feb 10, 2021

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Melting ice sheets release tons of methane into the atmosphere

An international team of researchers led by the University of Bristol camped for three months next to the Greenland Ice Sheet, sampling the meltwater that runs off a large catchment (> 600 km2) of the Ice Sheet during the summer months. As reported in Nature, using novel sensors to measure methane in meltwater runoff in real time, they observed that methane was continuously exported from beneath the ice. They calculated that at least six tons of methane was transported to their measuring site from this portion of the Ice Sheet alone. Methane gas (CH4) is the third most important greenhouse gas in the atmosphere after water vapour and carbon dioxide (CO2). Although, present in lower concentrations that CO2, methane is approximately 20-28 times more potent.

— source University of Bristol | Jan 3, 2019

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Methane levels have hit a scary record high

While the world has been focused on a global pandemic and widespread protests, another crisis is gathering in the atmosphere. And no, it isn’t carbon dioxide: It’s that other planet-warmer, methane, a colorless, odorless gas which traps 86 times as much heat as CO2. According to two new studies out Tuesday, a combination of agriculture and fossil fuel burning has boosted methane to a record-high 1,875 parts per billion in the atmosphere.

If unabated, the researchers warn, methane emissions could push the planet toward a world heated up by 3 to 4 degrees Celsius, one of the worst-case scenarios for global warming.

In the race over how to lower global greenhouse gas emissions, methane — a carbon atom joined to four hydrogen atoms — is often left out of the conversation. It doesn’t hang around in the atmosphere as long as carbon dioxide; when released into the air, it only takes about 9 years for half of it to

— source | Shannon Osaka | Jul 14, 2020

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Less ice, more methane from northern lakes

Lakes account for about 10% of the boreal landscape and are, globally, responsible for approximately 30% of biogenic methane emissions that have been found to increase under changing climate conditions. However, the quantification of this climate-sensitive methane source is fraught with large uncertainty under warming climate conditions. Only a few studies have addressed the mechanisms of climate impact on methane emissions from northern lakes. while the warming of lake water and sediments plays a vital role, the increase in the length of the ice-free period is a key factor increasing methane emissions in the future.

— source University of Eastern Finland | Mar 26, 2020

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