Methane doesn’t last as long in the atmosphere as the even more infamous so-called “greenhouse gas” (carbon dioxide), but it’s 25 times more effective at trapping heat, and scientists are very worried about the recent spike in methane emissions into the atmosphere.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the concentration of methane in the atmosphere in 2021 increased by 17 parts per billion, surpassing the record set last year – a jump of 15.3 parts per billion.
The sources of methane emissions are fossil fuels, landfills and… cows, which produce methane when they digest food and release it – mainly when they burp. NOAA experts also point to the possibility of the impact of the cyclical natural phenomenon La Nina, which causes cooling of water in the Pacific Ocean, which leads to an increase in methane emissions from swamps. Other experts attribute a significant role to methane leaks in the process of drilling oil and gas wells.
Methane is considered a “short-lived” gas – it lasts in the atmosphere for only 9 years, while carbon dioxide can remain in the atmosphere for thousands of years. Experts believe that methane’s relatively short atmospheric lifetime, combined with its significant heat-trapping capacity, makes reducing the gas’s emissions a preferred goal in the fight against climate change.
Newspaper headline: What do we breathe
Source: Все материалы – Московский Комсомолец by www.vnovomsvete.com.
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