Posted by: r.m. | March 4, 2010

more methane?

“Now comes the first news that levels of methane in the atmosphere, which began rising in 2007 when an unprecedented heatwave in the Arctic caused a record shrinking of the sea ice, have continued to rise significantly through 2008 and 2009.

Although researchers cannot yet be certain, and there may be non-threatening explanations, there is a fear that rising temperatures may have started to activate the positive feedback mechanism. This would see higher atmospheric levels of the gas producing more warming, which in turn would release more methane, which would produce even further warming, and so on into an uncontrollable “runaway” warming effect. This is believed to have happened at the end of the last Ice Age, causing a very rapid temperature rise in a matter of decades. …

In a presentation on “Global atmospheric methane in 2010: budget, changes and dangers”, the two scientists will reveal that, after a decade of near-zero growth, “globally averaged atmospheric methane increased by [approximately] 7ppb (parts per billion) per year during 2007 and 2008.”

They go on: “During the first half of 2009, globally averaged atmospheric CH4 was [approximately] 7ppb greater than it was in 2008, suggesting that the increase will continue in 2009. There is the potential for increased CH4 emissions from strong positive climate feedbacks in the Arctic where there are unstable stores of carbon in permafrost … so the causes of these recent increases must be understood.”

Professor Nisbet said at the weekend that the new figures did not necessarily mark a new excursion from the trend. “It may just be a couple of years of high growth, and it may drop back to what it was,” he said. “But there is a concern that things are beginning to change towards renewed growth from feedbacks.”

Read full article here :

Methane levels may see ‘runaway’ rise, scientists warn


  1. Arctic methane release from permafrost is another consequence of global warming.
    We have created the “methane time bomb” that will lead to the massive extinction of our race.
    The positive feedback mechanism that will result from the atmospheric increase in methane is a farely played game … It is the payback of nature to human savages!!!!!!
    I would also like to know about the new figures revealed at the Conference in London.

  2. Sources of methane include natural sources like wetlands, gas hydrates in the ocean floor, permafrost, termites, oceans, freshwater bodies, and non-wetland soils. Fossil fuels, agricultural animals, landfills and rice paddies are the main human-related sources.(how ironic)

  3. Climate change is like a cycle: every consequence is a cause of another problem and so on… all these problems together are affecting our world to an irreversible disaster!! How powerful we are that we are destroying Earth by just doing “mistakes” that we aren’t conscious about them! Do people know that the increase of temperature affect the increase of methane?? Do they know the consequences of methane? What if NO “drop back to what it was”? All these questions are just a small part of what we are searching for. So hope to find answers, right ones and to REACT based on them before it is too late.

  4. I think that this problem should be presented on a universal scale, but who cares?! We only care about money.
    If we work hand by hand we could prevent this “methane time bomb” to happen, we could prevent the ice to melt by decreasing the atmospheric pollution.
    Who cares about decreasing the number of cows or limiting the “natural formation of methane”, when there are huge sources stored in the artic within the ice.
    Let’s take a view at the benefits of methane, it could be used as an energy source…., Lets use the artic stores for these purposes instead of generating methane industrially, or we can simply limit pollution, and carbon dioxide release into the atmosphere thus decreasing climate change.
    We could also get rid of these artic stores of methane by many ways as using chemoautotroph bacteria that could convert CH4 into other forms.
    We are poison for this planet we first caused the release of CFC, than CO2 and now methane!!!!
    Who is listening to Professor Nisbet? No one, who cares it’s just a methane time bomb! it’s not like it is a Uranium bomb, so it is not worth our attention, it is really useful in wars and domination.

  5. Problems are progressively accumulating on earth! Every few “Seconds”, news focus on a new damaging problem! And who is responsible? Always MAn is behind any catastrophe occuring! But who is blamed and punished? Actually no one! Everybody is pointing toward each other to put the blame on the opposite side. And at the end, the story disappear by noting “to be continue”.

    As it was mentioned in the article:
    “there is a fear that rising temperatures may have started to activate the positive feedback mechanism”. A positive feedback mechanism is a disaster because no one can stop it, it is designed to increase the effect of the current situation. So the temperature is gradually increasing leading eventually to the “boiling” of the earth.

    Who is reacting to solve -or at least TRY to solve- this problem? many cooperation and unions are pretending to do so BUT actually no one is doing any move. We just limit ouselves by saying “we should do this and this… we should cooperate… we need to have…” but really this is just talking to talk.
    Thus, it is suspected to discover -not solutions and cures- but new problems that are summed with these previous tons of problems.

  6. Methane is, after water vapor and carbon dioxide, the third most important greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. Its concentration in the atmosphere has more than doubled since preindustrial times. Human energy production and use, landfills and waste, cattle raising, rice agriculture, and biomass burning are considered responsible for this increase. However, 40% of current global methane sources are natural. Most natural emissions come from anaerobic decomposition of organic carbon in wetlands, with poorly known smaller contributions from the ocean, termites, wild animals, wildfires, and geological sources.

  7. I think with years ahead the “big countries” will eventually have to pay attention to such ecological problems. After all climate change is a problem affecting the whole earth so they can not keep ignoring it because it is affecting them too.
    I hope the next Copenhagen will actually succeed, and I hope it won’t be too late!

  8. Well this is kind of new to hear about… we always have in mind that it is all because of CO2 and forget about methane. I never imagined that it could have such an effect..Is it true that it can trap 20 times more heat than CO2 does?… and in what way is Lebanon related to this increase in methane emission? what about universities and houses?do they contribute somehow? It is useless to talk about all people and how careless they are but if we can understand a little bit about how we participate in this pollution in our everyday life maybe we can start by trying to avoid the use of methane emitting things…

  9. Michella we can not avoid using methane or methane emitting things, since as Majed mentioned “40 % are from natural sources”, so we can only decrease it as they are doing so!
    However the real problem is not in methane production itself but in climate change, thus this increase in temperature will cause the ice in the artic to melt and the huge amounts of trapped methane in the artic to be released into the atmosphere, i.e. “The methane bomb.”
    We could not have been caring about methane in the future, if we had reduced pollution (including CO2 emission) in the past. But hopelessly this is human nature, we are not aware of the problem until we reach the worst case scenarios!

  10. Well jack, i dont think this is only related to humans caring about money. It is more like an adaptation to a certain type of life and to the demands of the human population. Humans wont actually feel the effect of the methane bomb or the global warning or any other ecological threat unless this threat would DIRECTLY start to affect their life or society.All these theoretical explanations wont make enough change to avoid the devastating effects of CO2 or methane or CFC. And then it would probably be too late! Well yes it is somehow ironic how it’s nature’s payback time! and the idea of using methane as an energy source as a way to dissipate t is interesting. However wont the combustion of the methane produce more CO2? and thid could contribute to global warming! So it is somehow a dead end situation, nothing will really disappear, without producing something else instead. But maybe if this methane energy source would be of great financial income, i guess some countries will do it anyways! for the money🙂 well, i just think that an real awarness that will cause any change is still out of reacch, unluckily..

  11. Rim
    Do you think that an adaptation would be to let the industrial smoke free without filtration?
    Or it would be to burn garbage instead of getting rid of it in a healthy way?
    This is all economically influenced, filters are expensive, and healthy is a costly process!
    On the other hand, it’s true that methane will generate more CO2, but it is better than cutting trees and burning them to produce energy, and it’s better than using fuel. Why shouldn’t we use it? Since it is there already present and damaging in the first place, why should we add the damage by decreasing the number of trees thus decreasing the respiration?
    Look around you my dear aren’t these changes affecting our societies yet. Bears are waking up, before their time from hibernation and killing people, fishes in the ocean are filled with mercury, and this is causing cancer to our society.
    There is always a way to reach an awareness campaign. I know that you are clever; you could use this talent of yours to spread awareness around you. You might join a club and help through it.
    Don’t wait for others to make a change, Be the change!.

  12. even though people may hear about methane emissions and how climate change and human behavior are increasing it, a big number does not have the background to understand the cosequences of such changes.
    therefore, they would not relate to it or make an effort in their behavior to counteract it.
    for this reason, awarness should be spread to average people (people lacking a scientific, ecological or environmental background).

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