Record Levels of Methane in the Atmosphere

Siddharth Singh
Feb 6, 2017 · 2 min read

You are probably already aware that Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is a greenhouse gas that can trap heat in the atmosphere — leading to climate change. As seen in the graph below from NASA, the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has shot up exponentially in the past 100 years. This coincides with the industrial age that has involved unprecedented use of of fossil fuels for transport and production.

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However, CO2 is not the only greenhouse gas responsible for climate change. Methane (CH4) is also an important greenhouse gas responsible for trapping heat in the atmosphere. In the US for instance (pie chart below), it was the second most released greenhouse gas after CO2.

Note that while human activity releases less methane than CO2, methane traps heat in the atmosphere far more efficiently than CO2 does. In fact, the impact of methane on climate change is “more than 25 times greater than CO2 over a 100-year period.”

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And over 60% of the total methane release globally is from human activity involving coal, natural gas and oil (and the consumption of cattle products).

And unfortunately, as reported by EPA (graph below), human activity has led to to the record concentrations of methane in the atmosphere.

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Just thought you should know.

PS. Are you an expert on cow farts? Take this quiz.

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