CH4 In comparison to CO2, little research was conducted

CH4
is a colorless, odorless, flammable gas, with a density less than
air. It is primarily removed from the
atmosphere through chemical means via hydroxyl radicals (Boetius et al. 2000). The presence of CH4 in
the
atmosphere was first discovered in 1948;
however, its relationship to climate was not recognized until 1976 when it was found to absorb
certain frequencies of infrared
radiation (NASA, 2004). In comparison to
CO2, little research was conducted on CH4 until it was discovered that ice sheets in Greenland
and Antarctica contained both gases within tiny bubbles in
the ice. In 1990 research was published on the ice-core record of atmospheric methane dating back 160,000 years
(Chappellaz, 1990). These results showed that CH4 fluctuated
over time and was associated with previous climactic changes demonstrating a concentration of 350 ppb
during glacial periods and 650 ppb during interglacial
periods and less than half the 1990 level of 1,700 ppb. In 2016 atmospheric methane concentrations reached 1,852 ppb (Boetius et al. 2000;
Severinghaus 1999; Schmidt and Shindell 2003; Hinrichs 2003; Augustin et al.
2004; Christensen 2004; Ruddiman 2003). CH4
is generated by natural and anthropogenic processes with approximately 64% attributable to human activity (Bousquet et al. 2006). This estimate and overall CH4 estimates, regarding the proportion of anthropogenic
to natural emissions, carry a large 9 degree
of uncertainty. The IPCC’s bottom-up estimates for emissions from natural sources from 2000–2009 were approximately 60% larger
than their top-down estimates; however, the
anthropogenic estimates were less than 2% different between top-down and bottom-up estimates (IPCC, 2014). In terms of its GHG
impact CH4 is a potent gas with an estimated CO2eq
ranging from 25x to 34x, meaning
that CH4 generates between 25 and 34 times the global warming potential of CO2 (Environmental and Climate Change
Canada 2013). Overall CH4 comprises
approximately 16% of global CO2eq GHG emissions(WRI 2013).

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