Greenhouse gas stablizes on its own – scientists confused


Multiple news sites are reporting that

levels of the second most important greenhouse gas, methane, have stabilized.

From Scientific American: "During the two decades of measurements, methane

underwent double-digit growth as a constituent of our atmosphere, rising from

1,520 parts per billion by volume (ppbv) in 1978 to 1,767 ppbv in 1998. But the

most recent measurements have revealed that methane levels are barely rising

anymore — and it is unclear why."

From NewScientist: "Although tis is good news, it does not mean that methane levels will not rise again, and that carbon dioxide remains the 800-pound gorilla of climate change."

Actually, NewScientist is wrong. CO2 is not the biggest "gorilla" of

greenhouse gas on planet earth. It’s water vapor. Our earth would be much colder without water vapor in the atmosphere…it would be much like Mars.

So many of the climate models focus solely on CO2, but they leave out water vapor in the equations, or assume its "static".

CO2 is far from being the most potent greenhouse gas. Chloroflourocarbons

(CFC’s) commonly used as refrigerants as far worse at trapping infra-red in our


Of naturally created GHG’s, Methane is 23 times more effective at warming the

atmosphere than CO2. Nitrous Oxide is even worse at 296. So far no emergency

legislation has been authored to eliminate the effect of cows or dental

surgeons. The Kyoto treaty does not address these other gases either.

Global Warming Potentials

(100 Year Time Horizon)



Carbon dioxide (CO2) 1

Methane (CH4) 23

Nitrous oxide (N2O) 296


HFC-23 12,000

HFC-125 3,400

HFC-134a 1,300

HFC-143a 4,300

HFC-152a 120

HFC-227ea 3,500

HFC-43-10mee 1,500

Fully Fluorinated Gases

SF6 22,200

CF4 5,700

C2F6 11,900

C4F10 8,600

C6F14 9,000

The concept of the global warming potential (GWP) was developed to compare the

ability of each greenhouse gas to trap heat in the atmosphere relative to

another gas. In this case, CO2 is the reference gas. Methane, for example, has a

GWP of 23 over a 100-year period. This means that on a kilogram for kilogram

basis, methane is 23 times more potent than CO2 over a 100-year period.

The interesting thing here is that this stabilization of methane levels in

our atmosphere happened all by itself, and the scientists are clearly baffled as

to an explanation. As I’ve always said, the earth’s atmosphere is such a complex

system, that pinning its change on just one thing is not good science.

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Emerson Carter
December 2, 2006 6:42 pm

I didn’t leave a coment I wanted to read what Anthony had to say on global warming.
See more info at my website

October 30, 2008 3:13 pm

[…] bit before posting it.  Almost two years ago, when this blog was in its very first month, I posted this story on the puzzling leveling off of global methane […]

October 31, 2008 8:49 pm

[…] before posting it.  Almost two years ago, when this blog was in its very first month, I posted this story on the puzzling leveling off of global methane concentrations. FYI Methane has a “global warming […]

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