Atmospheric methane levels soared in 2020, the largest increase since records began in 1983. This is what scientists have called the alarming development of the Earth.
New data showed Both methane and carbon dioxide reached record levels in the atmosphere last year, despite the coronavirus pandemic shutting down much of the world economy.
Lori Bruhwiler, a physicist at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said the surge in methane levels was “quite surprising and disturbing.”
“We usually don’t expect them to jump suddenly in a year,” Bruhwiler said. The exact reason for the increase is not yet known, she added.
Methane, which is 28 times more powerful than carbon dioxide as a global warning factor, comes from the use of fossil fuels such as coal and gas, and from microbial sources in wetlands, cattle and landfills.
Approximately 60% of methane emissions are related to human activity, while the rest naturally occur from environments such as swamps and permafrost thawing.
NOAA data show that methane concentration increased by 14.7 ppb in 2020.
According to NOAA, carbon dioxide levels rose to 412.5 ppm in 2020, about 12% higher than in 2000.
Last year’s pandemic reduced carbon dioxide emissions by about 6%, but nevertheless increased atmospheric CO2 levels as emissions continued.
Record CO2 levels were expected as the gas remained in the atmosphere for up to 100 years, but the sudden increase in methane concentration was surprising.
Euan Nisbet, a professor of earth sciences at the Royal Holloway University in London, said:
According to Nisbet, one hypothesis about increased methane is increased emissions from biological sources such as wetlands.
“Parts of the tropics have grown warmer and moist,” he explains, due to global warming.
Another hypothesis is that over time, the ability of the atmosphere to “purify” methane by decomposing it has diminished.
Durwood Zaelke, director of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, an environmental charity based in Washington, DC and focused on short-lived climate pollutants such as methane, said: ..
Reducing methane emissions can delay global warming faster than reducing carbon dioxide emissions, he adds. Because methane does not stay in the atmosphere for a long time.
Methane is also released from oil and gas extracts, such as leaks in gas pipelines.
methane Emissions from oil and gas This is an area of growing concern in the United States. President Donald Trump has relaxed the regulations governing them, and President Joe Biden is preparing to tighten the rules.
NOAA data on methane levels are tentative and may be updated later this year, but indicate that methane is rising faster than expected.
Mr Nisbet said the current level is far from what is needed to reasonably achieve the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 ° C.
“I knew it was bad, but I didn’t know it was so bad,” Nisbet added, referring to the methane data. “This breaks my heart.”
Record rise in global methane emissions in 2020 Source link Record rise in global methane emissions in 2020