Methane’s Key Role in Global Warming

January 29, 2010 at 12:43 PM Leave a comment

Carbon dioxide is the gas we most associate with global warming, but methane gas also plays an important role. For reasons that are not well understood, methane gas stopped increasing in the atmosphere in the 1990s. But now it appears to be once again on the rise. Scientists are trying to understand why — and what to do about it.

Methane gas comes from all sorts of sources including wetlands, rice paddies, cow tummies, coal mines, garbage dumps and even termites. Drew Shindell, at NASA’s Goddard Institute in New York, says, “It’s gone up by 150 percent since the pre-industrial period. So that’s an enormous increase. CO2, by contrast, has gone up by something like 30 percent.”

Molecule for molecule, methane is much more effective than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere. And that’s just part of the trouble.

“Methane is much more complicated once it gets into the atmosphere than something like carbon dioxide is,” Shindell says, “and that’s because it reacts with a lot of different important chemicals.”

For example, methane in the atmosphere also creates ground-level ozone. And ozone isn’t only bad for human health; it also contributes to global warming. Shindell recently totaled up all the effects of methane emissions and realized that the heating effect is more than 60 percent that of carbon dioxide’s.

Full Article HERE

Advertisements

Entry filed under: Climate Change. Tags: , .

Obama Talks Clean Energy But Little About Renewables Global Warming Slowed by Decline in Atmospheric Water Vapor

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


University of San Francisco: unplugged

USFUNPLUGGED is brought to you by the Environmental Safety Community Outreach Liaison’s of USF. Here to educate, assist and encourage, we want you to get involved with the GREEN movement taking place on campus!

Unplugged Rewind


%d bloggers like this: