Interpreting contemporary trends in atmospheric methane | regenagscience

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Interpreting contemporary trends in atmospheric methane

Resource type
Authors/contributors
Title
Interpreting contemporary trends in atmospheric methane
Abstract
<p>Atmospheric methane plays a major role in controlling climate, yet contemporary methane trends (1982–2017) have defied explanation with numerous, often conflicting, hypotheses proposed in the literature. Specifically, atmospheric observations of methane from 1982 to 2017 have exhibited periods of both increasing concentrations (from 1982 to 2000 and from 2007 to 2017) and stabilization (from 2000 to 2007). Explanations for the increases and stabilization have invoked changes in tropical wetlands, livestock, fossil fuels, biomass burning, and the methane sink. Contradictions in these hypotheses arise because our current observational network cannot unambiguously link recent methane variations to specific sources. This raises some fundamental questions: (<i>i</i>) What do we know about sources, sinks, and underlying processes driving observed trends in atmospheric methane? (<i>ii</i>) How will global methane respond to changes in anthropogenic emissions? And (<i>iii</i>), What future observations could help resolve changes in the methane budget? To address these questions, we discuss potential drivers of atmospheric methane abundances over the last four decades in light of various observational constraints as well as process-based knowledge. While uncertainties in the methane budget exist, they should not detract from the potential of methane emissions mitigation strategies. We show that net-zero cost emission reductions can lead to a declining atmospheric burden, but can take three decades to stabilize. Moving forward, we make recommendations for observations to better constrain contemporary trends in atmospheric methane and to provide mitigation support.</p>
Publication
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Pages
201814297
Date
2019/02/07
Journal Abbr
PNAS
Language
en
DOI
10.1073/pnas.1814297116
ISSN
0027-8424, 1091-6490
Accessed
2019-02-14T04:12:09Z
Library Catalog
Rights
Copyright © 2019 the Author(s). Published by PNAS.. This open access article is distributed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License 4.0 (CC BY-NC-ND).
Extra
PMID: 30733299
Citation
Turner, A. J., Frankenberg, C., & Kort, E. A. (2019). Interpreting contemporary trends in atmospheric methane. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201814297. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1814297116
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