Saturday, February 27, 2016

Major Atmospheric Methane Spike

On February 20th 2015, for about 12 hours, the NOAA METOP measure recorded a major atmospheric methane spike in the range of 3,096 parts per billion at 20,000 feet. This was the highest methane reading ever recorded and the first time any measurement has exceeded the 3,000 parts per billion threshold.

This far exceeds the global atmospheric average of around 1830 parts per billion.
The mammoth methane gas leak that spewed uncontrollably from a damaged well in California’s Aliso Canyon was finally capped last week. The Aliso Canyon leak thrust an estimated 96,000 metric tons of potent methane, and other noxious substances, into the atmosphere at a rate of 58,000 kilograms of methane per hour.

In Texas, researchers estimate around 60,000 kilograms are spewed every hour by over 25,000 natural gas wells in operation on the Barnett Shale. This amounts to around 544,000 tons of methane every year. Texas is dealing with a comparable disaster that has been overlooked by officials and the media because the state’s methane emanates from a powerful industry.

Global average abundances of the major, well-mixed, long-lived greenhouse gases - carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, CFC-12 and CFC-11 - from the NOAA

February 25, 2015 Copenicus methane graphic tracking surface methane readings.
A vast expanse of permafrost has started to thaw for the first time since it formed 11,000 years ago. It is caused by the recent 3+°C rise in local temperature over the past 40 years - more than four times the global average. Peat bogs cover an area of a million square miles (or almost a quarter of the earth's land surface) to a depth of 25 meters.
This has the potential to release vast quantities of methane trapped below the surface - billions of tonnes of methane. World-wide, peat bogs store at least two trillion tons of CO2. This is equivalent to a century of emissions from fossil fuels.

This is one of scientist's most feared tipping points.

Russian scientists examining enormous craters which have appeared in the Yamal region of Siberia

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