Record levels of methane in the atmosphere will make it even harder to reach targets set by the Paris climate agreement, scientists have warned.
Researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) found increasing amounts of the potent greenhouse gas were coming from the tropics.
They are uncertain about the source but believe it is likely to be due to microbial changes in methane-belching tropical wetlands. They believe warmer temperatures could be causing them to emit more methane than ever before.
“Methane’s unexpected rise is a major challenge to the Paris agreement and we don’t know why it’s happening,” Euan Nisbet, professor of earth sciences at Royal Holloway University of London, told the Financial Times.
“It looks very much as if the warming is feeding the warming, but exactly how is a major puzzle,” he said.
Methane is the second largest cause of human-induced global warming after carbon dioxide. It is 28 times more potent and can trap heat in the atmosphere for more than 100 years.
Researchers found the amount of methane released increased by 50 per cent between 2013 and 2018 compared with the five years before. [Continue reading…]