Emissions of methane in the tropics may explain the increase in its concentration in the atmosphere

(ORDO NEWS) — Tropical methane emissions from the ground could explain more than 80% of observed changes in global atmospheric methane growth rates between 2010 and 2019, a recent study by a joint research team has found, Xinhua news agency reported.

Atmospheric methane concentrations have more than doubled since pre industrial times, accounting for 20% of the total contribution to today’s human induced global warming, said Liu Yi, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Atmospheric Physics.

Emissions of tropical terrestrial methane as the main source of methane emissions account for about 60% of the global total and describe 84% of the average annual growth rate of this gas in the 2010s, according to a study published online in the journal Nature Communications.

Significant fluctuations in the growth of the concentration of atmospheric methane, the main greenhouse gas, are due to a variety of anthropogenic and natural emissions, as well as losses due to oxidation by the hydroxyl radical.

The researchers of the joint research group used a ten year data set (2010-2019) and satellite measurements of methane concentrations, as well as surface measurements, to limit methane emissions to the atmosphere.

Using correlational meteorological analysis, the researchers found strong seasonal correlations between large-scale changes in sea surface temperature in tropical oceans and regional fluctuations in methane emissions in tropical South America and tropical Africa.


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