Azara Blog: Extra methane in atmosphere might be down to wetlands

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Date published: 2008/05/23

The BBC says:

Higher atmospheric levels of the greenhouse gas methane noted last year are probably related to emissions from wetlands, especially around the Arctic.

Scientists have found indications that extra amounts of the gas in the Arctic region are of biological origin.

Global levels of methane had been roughly stable for almost a decade.

Rising levels in the Arctic could mean that some of the methane stored away in permafrost is being released, which would have major climatic implications.

The gas is about 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas, though it survives for a shorter time in the atmosphere before being broken down by natural chemical processes.
...
Methane concentrations had been more or less stable since about 1999 following years of rapid increases, with industrial reform in the former Soviet bloc, changes to rice farming methods and the capture of methane from landfill sites all contributing to the levelling off.

In the recent past, concentrations have risen during El Nino events, whereas the world is currently amid the opposite climatic pattern, La Nina.

This is not exactly unexpected (given the increase), and it's only one study, but nonetheless it's an interesting analysis.

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