‘Detergent’ molecules may be driving fluctuations in atmospheric methane concentrations

New study suggests hydroxyl radicals may be behind unexplained recent increase in methane levels

from the CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

From the NOAA global air sampling network are plotted since the beginning of 1979

During the early 2000s, environmental scientists studying methane emissions noticed something unexpected: the global concentrations of atmospheric methane (CH4)–which had increased for decades, driven by methane emissions from fossil fuels and agriculture–inexplicably leveled off.

The methane levels remained stable for a few years, then started rising again in 2007. Previous studies have suggested a variety of potential culprits behind the renewed rise: increasing emissions from high-latitude wetlands, increasing fossil fuel emissions, or the growth of agriculture in Asia.

However, new modeling by researchers at Caltech and Harvard University suggests that methane emissions might not have increased dramatically in 2007 after all. Instead, the most likely explanation has less to do with methane emissions and more to do with changes in the availability of the hydroxyl (OH) radical, which breaks down methane in the atmosphere. As such, the amount of hydroxyl in the atmosphere governs the amount of methane. If global levels of hydroxyl decrease, global methane concentrations will increase–even if methane emissions remain constant, the researchers say.

Methane is the second most prevalent greenhouse gas, after carbon dioxide. However, the colorless, odorless gas can be difficult to track and derives from a wide range of sources, from decomposing biological material to leaks in natural gas pipelines.

When atmospheric concentrations of methane increase, it may not be correct to chalk it up solely to an increase in methane emissions, says Caltech’s Christian Frankenberg, co-corresponding author of a study on the decadal trends of methane concentrations that was published the week of April 17 in the early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Frankenberg is an associate professor of environmental science and engineering at Caltech and a research scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is administered by Caltech for NASA. His collaborators on the paper are Paul Wennberg, the R. Stanton Avery Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry and Environmental Science and Engineering at Caltech, and Alexander Turner and Daniel Jacob of Harvard.

“Think of the atmosphere like a kitchen sink with the faucet running,” Frankenberg explains. “When the water level inside the sink rises, that can mean that you’ve opened up the faucet more. Or it can mean that the drain is blocking up. You have to look at both.”

In this analogy, hydroxyl represents part of the draining mechanism in the sink. Hydroxyl is the neutral form of the negatively charged hydroxide molecule (OH?). It is described as a “radical” because it is highly reactive and, as such, acts like a detergent in the atmosphere, breaking down methane into oxygen and water vapor.

Tracking decadal trends in both methane and hydroxyl, Frankenberg and his colleagues noted that fluctuations in hydroxyl concentrations correlated strongly with fluctuations in methane.

However, the authors do not yet have a mechanistic explanation for the last decade’s global changes in hydroxyl concentrations. Future studies are needed to investigate this further, Frankenberg says. The researchers also would like to see the trends they detected verified with a more detailed study of both methane sources and sinks.

“The tropics are the tricky part,” Frankenberg says. “They’re very complex in terms of methane emissions and destruction.” Methane has the shortest lifetime in the tropics due to the large amounts of water vapor and radiation there. But because tropical areas are often remote and cloud-covered (thwarting satellite observation), they remain understudied, Frankenberg says.

The PNAS study is titled “Ambiguity in the causes for decadal trends in atmospheric methane and hydroxyl.” Alexander Turner, graduate student at Harvard University, is the lead author. The co-authors are Christian Frankenberg and Paul Wennberg from Caltech, and Daniel Jacob from Harvard. This research was funded by the Department of Energy and a NASA Carbon Monitoring System grant.

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85 thoughts on “‘Detergent’ molecules may be driving fluctuations in atmospheric methane concentrations

  1. “Methane is the second most prevalent greenhouse gas, after carbon dioxide. ”

    Say what? No mention of water vapor?

    • The key word is … “AFTER”, … in the phrase, “after carbon dioxide”. … ignoring the fact that water vapor is THE most dominant greenhouse gas, … BEFORE carbon dioxide.

      Water vapor is simply swept under the rug, as usual.

      Obfuscation is a beautiful thing. (^_^)

      • water vapor is THE most dominant greenhouse gas …..

        Water vapor is simply swept under the rug, as usual.

        No surprises there because ……. atmospheric water (H2O) vapor to a CAGW partisan Climate (junk) Scientist ……… is akin to ……. the same as is dirt on the floor to an uncaring sloppy housekeeper.

        Clouds, fog and mists are all forms of water vapor which have collected into larger “droplets” of water and are visible to the naked eye, …. and are the same as humidity which can not be seen with the naked eye. And that is because of the density of the larger “droplets” of water and the fact that any source of light that strikes them will be absorbed more readily and/or reflected away from them more easily.

        But now the effects of clouds, fogs and mists relative to incoming solar energy and re-emitted energy from the earth’s surface ….. are quite different (extremely more pronounced) than the effects of humidity. Again, this is because of their density (mass).

        Clouds, fogs and mists act as a unidirectional buffer to both the incoming solar energy and the re-radiated energy from the earth’s surface. And the best way to explain this is by examples.

        Night time cloud cover or fog will prevent near surface air temperatures from cooling off as fast because they per say buffer the re-radiated energy.

        Day time cloud cover or morning fog will prevent near surface air temperatures from warming up as fast because they per say buffer the incoming solar energy.

        And this conundrum is what confuses the ell out of scientists who are trying to calculate “average surface air temperatures” ….. and which wrecks havoc with their Climate Modeling Programs ….. because water (H2O) vapor is such an important but indeterminate variable.

        And thus, because they can not accurately calculate the effect of water (H2O) vapor, …… they completely ignore and omit said from any of their calculations …… and attempt to CTA by blaming all of their calculated increases in average temperatures on atmospheric CO2.

    • Technically they may be correct. When I worked for Matheson Gas, I was taught that substances that produce vapors have a condensed phase at standard temperature and pressure (STP). So water, benzene, toluene and alcohols generate vapors. Substances that are gases do not have a condensed phase at STP (argon, helium, CO2, methane). A slim reed, but there you have it.

      • They may “have a condensed phase” but they also simultaneously have a gaseous phase, so there will always be a finite water vapour. Also most of the atmosphere, certainly the part where all the AGW is supposed to be happening and destroying the planet is not at STP, so the whole comment becomes rather irrelevant.

        Since they are claiming CO2 is the major GHG they are categorically WRONG.

      • BTW doesn’t that methane graph look just a little like global mean temperature?

        (CH4)–which had increased for decades, driven by methane emissions from fossil fuels and agriculture–inexplicably leveled off.

        Well if it is “inexplicable” the very poor level of understanding on which models are based must be wrong, yet again.

      • Technically they are not correct unless there is a typing error in the article. Since when did methane (CH4) break down to oxygen and water vapor. OH radicals actually can result from the reaction of ozone (O3) with CH4 eg CH4 +O3 gives CH3Oh +O2

      • @cementafriend
        I do not understand your comment. MarkW’s post, to which I was replying, did not mention methane breakdown products or pathways.

    • Robert and D.J. what both of you are saying is 100% true.
      However any scientist who would use mealy mouthed wording such as that is after obfuscation, not education.

    • No, conveniently, the IPCC prefers to ignore water vapor and pretend that CO2 enslaves water vapor to do its bidding. By taking a thermodynamic factor of CO2, related to its IR/heat and heat/IR conversion rate, and multiplying it 12-fold (back about 12–15 years ago, lauding while they did it the consistency of the number; always watch what the left hand is doing while the right hand claims to be honest), the IPCC made CO2 a climate driver and then, by completely ignoring the planetary water cycle heat engine, they claimed that CO2 enslaved water vapor and created a warming mechanism. This entirely ignores that the water cycle heat engine ramps up with warming and the 85–90% of the heat from the Sun is delivered to altitude to be lost to space. This is why our climate is so relatively stable, as it takes major changes in large factors for the climate to change. Atmospheric CO2 is minor, very minor, period.

      Of course, they conveniently ignore the fact that water vapor can be up to 20,000 ppm while CO2 is 400 ppm and water vapor is ten times the “greenhouse gas,” more accurately called radiative gases. So, that makes methane the third most prevalent gas and a truly distant third regarding anything to do with IR radiation.

      So, they also conveniently ignore the fact that methane is at 1/400th of the concentration of atmospheric CO2, so, regardless of it being 20 times the “greenhouse gas” of CO2, it is pathetically ineffective for what they want.

      They also conveniently neglect to mention that the half-life of CO2 and methane in the atmosphere is about five years for both gases, meaning that there are no longterm effects.

      Wow, does it seem like the neglect to include a lot of salient features here? Really? They are so adamant because [any well] taught middle schooler, not taught Common Core, could shoot down their position.

      • As anyone who’s been involved in IR astronomy knows, neither CO2 or CH4 is of any serious concern. n the 1970’s and 80’s we (NASA) spent about $6000 per minute to get one instrument, a 1 meter IR telescope, above the tropopause just so we could eliminate 98% of the IR interference in our atmosphere, said interference cause by H20.

        No one was concerned about CO2 or CH4, both of which have such a small effect on IR transmission it was below the threshold of detection by our instruments.

      • Bartleby April 18, 2017 at 6:16 pm
        As anyone who’s been involved in IR astronomy knows, neither CO2 or CH4 is of any serious concern. n the 1970’s and 80’s we (NASA) spent about $6000 per minute to get one instrument, a 1 meter IR telescope, above the tropopause just so we could eliminate 98% of the IR interference in our atmosphere, said interference cause by H20.

        No one was concerned about CO2 or CH4, both of which have such a small effect on IR transmission it was below the threshold of detection by our instruments.

        I think you need to rethink this. The remaining telescopes functioning on the Spitzer use 3-4 and 4-5 micron wavelengths, the former will be obscured by water but the latter straddles a major CO2 band.
        The original IRAS launched in 1983 which I assume is what you’re referring to certainly covered CO2 wavelength bands which would have impacted its use from the surface.
        The Australia Telescope National Facility says. for example, “Much of the infrared suffers absorption from water and carbon dioxide molecules whilst most ultraviolet undergoes absorption by ozone”.

      • No, I wasn’t referring to either the IRAS or the Spitzer, both of which are space telescopes obviously well above the tropopause. I was referring to the Kuiper Airborne Observatory (KAO), a Lockeheed C-141 Starlifter equipped with a 1 meter IR telescope floted on an air bearing. The system was replaced by SOPHIA in the 1990’s.

        The purpose of both systems is (was) to get the instrument above water vapor, not CO2 or CH4.

  2. Sounds like we need to get some crop dusters out spraying hydroxyl over the oil well fields. :)

    More seriously, if this paper proves out it definitely looks like a nice avenue of exploration related geoengineering.

    • Before we go spraying this stuff willy-nilly across the landscape we should not e that the OH hydroxyl molecule is HIGHLY REACTIVE and corrosive. It is what we measure when we take pH readings of substances. The pH is the negative of the logarithm to base 10 of the activity of the hydrogen ion, in essence the ratio of hydrogen ions in free solution.
      It is the nasty part that forms the strong alkalis like NaOH (aka Lye).

      • rocketscientist April 18, 2017 at 10:53 am
        Before we go spraying this stuff willy-nilly across the landscape we should not e that the OH hydroxyl molecule is HIGHLY REACTIVE and corrosive. It is what we measure when we take pH readings of substances. The pH is the negative of the logarithm to base 10 of the activity of the hydrogen ion, in essence the ratio of hydrogen ions in free solution.
        It is the nasty part that forms the strong alkalis like NaOH (aka Lye).

        No that’s the hydroxide ion OH^-, what’s referred to here is the hydroxyl radical, OH, which because of its unpaired electron is extremely reactive and is responsible for cleaning up the gaseous organic molecules in the atmosphere. It’s in short supply however and is the limiting reagent in the cleanup process.

      • I was joking about low altitude applications, but airliners could be configured to dump it out in the troposphere (30,000 – 40,000 ft is where most planes fly). Methane is lighter than air so it is continuously moving from low-altitude to high-altitude via brownian motion, but it’s slow process since it is fighting gravity.

        I certainly am not saying “Let’s put out contracts now to modify turbo-fans”, but I am saying it is a geoengineering possibility worth studying.

        RE: Is this feasible?

        OH is consumed in the conversion of CH4 to CO2 + H2O, so the more methane released/produced, the more OH is needed to convert it.

        http://acmg.seas.harvard.edu/people/faculty/djj/book/bookchap11.html

        Implies there is an excess of methane and a corresponding shortage of OH in the troposphere to convert the CH4 before it gets to the stratosphere.

      • Hydroxyl is the exact same as hydroxide! That one is -OH while the other is HO- is only a matter of “where you put your eyes.” And, neither one is a neutral molecule. They/it is an ion – a charged piece of a molecule which has resulted from the dissociation of (in this case) water (the positively charged piece sometimes is called a hydronium ion H30+). And, ions by their very nature are highly reactive and frequently are called radicals. (This is not new. I learned it in HS in the early 60s.)

      • Bob Shapiro April 19, 2017 at 2:44 am
        Hydroxyl is the exact same as hydroxide! That one is -OH while the other is HO- is only a matter of “where you put your eyes.” And, neither one is a neutral molecule. They/it is an ion – a charged piece of a molecule which has resulted from the dissociation of (in this case) water (the positively charged piece sometimes is called a hydronium ion H30+). And, ions by their very nature are highly reactive and frequently are called radicals. (This is not new. I learned it in HS in the early 60s.)

        And were either taught it poorly or have forgotten what you were taught.
        Ions are not ‘frequently called radicals’, the two species are quite different.
        Ions carry an electric charge, in the case of hydroxide it’s OH^- and usually found in aqueous solution.
        Radicals (also known as free radicals) are neutral molecules that have an unpaired valence electron, in the case of the hydroxyl radical the unpaired electron is on the O atom. Because of the unpaired electron they are very reactive (lifetime in the atmosphere ~1sec), they are important in the atmosphere for initiating the breakdown of organic molecules such as methane. In the case of methane the products are methyl radical and water:
        CH4 + OH → CH3 + H2O
        The methyl radical undergoes further reactions ultimately leading to CO2 and more H2O

    • Greg,

      Would be a bit difficult to spray: it is in fact a water molecule split by UV into a H radical and a OH radical. not to be confused with OH- and H+ which are charged ions (in water)… That is why most of that radicals is found in the upper troposphere in the tropics and most of the breakdown work is there.

      Radicals are extremely reactive and OH radicals indeed work as scavengers for a lot of organic vapors in the atmosphere like in this case for CH4.

      • Airplanes like the 757 and 767 have APU’s in the fuselage. That’s some pretty large equipment. Surely there’s a way to setup a OH manufacturing plant in airliner and pump either OH radicals or a pre-cursor out while the plane is in flight.

        Greg

  3. I guess all the microbial life on earth and in the oceans will need an advocacy group to be heard and counted.

  4. In the ice cores, methane varies in lock step with Co2 (after a short delay). This can only be the signature of increased biomass where more biomass means more anaerobic decomposition and higher CH4 levels.

    • Maybe, but it’s far from settled.

      Carbon is considered the fourth most common chemical element in the universe. CH4 can be inorganic origin. Saturn moon Titan has lakes made of it.

      Equally, ice has many forms. The lock steps in ice gas concentrations could equally plausibly illustrate the ice matrix in the phase boundaries.

  5. Go west young man for all the opportunities in iron seeding ships, hydroxyl seeding, and the CO2 sequestering industry.

    Or……from The Graduate

    Mr. McGuire: I just want to say one word to you. Just one word.
    Benjamin: Yes, sir.
    Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
    Benjamin: Yes, I am.
    Mr. McGuire: Hydroxyl.
    Benjamin: Exactly how do you mean?

  6. Apparently, there are other things that break down Methane. ‘Methane has the shortest lifetime in the tropics due to the large amounts of water vapor and radiation there.’

  7. “Methane is the second most prevalent greenhouse gas, after carbon dioxide.”

    I am absolutely certain they know better. It is just more propaganda disguised as science. Omitting mention of the main source of “greenhouse” warming is a very convenient way to keep the public focused on the wrong issue – a great magician’s trick, but not reflective of good scientific practice.

    • An even larger influence is clouds, which in the Arctic regions unconditionally warms the surface (since cloud reflection and surface reflection are equal) and for the rest of the planet cools during the day and warms during the night.

      Of course, clouds are the consequence of water vapor and the consensus likes to disregard all of the effects of water.

  8. If the hydroxyl molecule is consumed during it’s interaction with methane, then there is going to be a rather complex feedback between the levels of hydroxyl and methane.
    Until they can figure out where the hydroxyl is coming from and all the ways it can be broken down, they haven’t found what they claim to have found.

  9. CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY says:

    It is described as a “radical” because it is highly reactive and, as such, acts like a detergent in the atmosphere, breaking down methane into oxygen and water vapor.

    They don’t seem to get the simplest chemistry right. Methane contains carbon — what happened to that?

    • I’m not a chemist (and didn’t stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night) and don’t know the reaction, but maybe something like this?

      CH4 + 4OH- -> CO2 + 2H2O

      • Note, Radical-catalyzed reactions are complicated by the fact unpaired electrons are shuffled around that created highly reactive, extremely short-lived intermediates.

        Further, Your equation is not stoichimetrically balanced. 8 H’s on left side, 4 H’s on right.

        In this case, it’s the hydroxyl radical with an unpaired electron that makes it highly reactive.
        The hydroxyl radical is rapidly hybridizing with more abundant molecular oxygen to form reactive intermediates to attack the methane molecule, stripping its electrons, and thus “oxidizing” the carbon from a +4 state (fully reduced) to a -4 state (fully oxidized). Along the way, O2 is consumed and water vapor created, and the hydroxyl radical is regenerated at the end. Thus 1 hydroxyl radical can catalyze the destruction of thousands of methane molecules.

      • Yes, apparently they believe carbon is destroyed (violating conservation laws) in the process when they say, “It is described as a “radical” because it is highly reactive and, as such, acts like a detergent in the atmosphere, breaking down methane into oxygen and water vapor.”

  10. Rather confused chemistry descriptions. OH is a detergent, a molecule and a radical, if it is reactive? Environmental chemistry sure is different from the chemistry I thought I knew. OH. is a (free) radical because it has an unpaired electron. At least that’s what I seem to remember. OH is usually known as an anion. Hydroxyl radical and hydroxyl anion.

    • They’re talking about the OH radical, and probably assume that everybody else realises that.

      • They may be trying to talk about the hydroxyl radical, but they do a poor job of it. And then suppose it acts like a detergent. Maybe because it scrubs like the bath tub cleaner? They don’t understand molecules, radicals anions and detergents/surfactants well enough to explain it? This is freshman chemistry. They can’t explain simple stuff and I should have any confidence in their research results?

  11. “However, new modeling by researchers”

    The moment I see the word modeling I stop. It means that the item has nothing to do with reality, it is simply mathematical masturbation. “Scientists” need to stop it, or they will go blind.

    • One of my biggest frustrations with climate science is how it’s caused so many people to assume that “model” is a synonym for “bad science”.
      Just because the so called climate science are misusing the GCM’s is not evidence that all models are automatically invalid.

      • When I worked for a major aeronautics company, we used models of the airplane to test our flight software prior to first flight.
        I interviewed with a company that built rockets and we discussed their flight software testing. According to the gentleman that I interviewed with, their code even modeled the sloshing of the fuel in the tanks every time the rocket changed course.
        Models like this allow developers to get thousands of flight hours on their software before the first piece of real hardware is built. Of course they still have lots of test flights before going to full production. But the models help to ensure that your code is at least pretty close to right before millions of dollars of hardware are put on the line.

      • That’s because climate scientist have been thumping the modeling bible, telling us they are the gospel. Blame the CAGW faithful for ruining the reputation of models.

      • MarkW,

        You are right, no bridge or house could be built without models based on the same mechanical laws that govern this world. That are models which are validated by millions of projects with seldom collapse through miscalculations…

        The problem is that too many climate related models are not validated at all, but still are sold as valid, while the main GCM’s have a failure rate of 95%, not very desirable to build a bridge with such a failure rate…

      • Excellent point, MarkW. “All models are wrong, some are useful.” I, too, used (ans built/maintained) mathematical models while in the aerospace industry, both for analysis and for real-time piloted simulators. One of the differences between such models and those being abused by the climate folks are that we based on our models on real physics, documented all our assumptions, and tested the living daylights out of our models, publishing the results compared to real objective data.

      • markw, you are correct due to the fact you are using models designed for that specific purpose. the bastardized efforts used in climate science are not fit for purpose,as evidenced by their output.

      • Retired_Engineer_Jim:

        You quote this fallacious old saw

        All models are wrong, some are useful.

        No!
        Wrong models should be rejected.

        Models are right when they make predictions that are correct to within the measurement errors of the modeled parameter(s).

        Models are wrong when they make predictions that are not correct to within the measurement errors of the modeled parameter(s).

        The assertion that “All models are wrong, some are useful” is an excuse provided by pseudoscientists as justification for their use of models that are wrong.

        Richard

      • Richard,

        Copernicus’ model of the “universe” was wrong in some details, but more right than Ptolemy’s or Tycho’s, the other models on offer. His system didn’t really predict planetary motions much better than Ptolemy’s, and still needed adjustments because he supposed circular orbits. The only advantage Prolemy and Tycho had was acceptance by the Church. With corrections, thanks to Kepler, allowing for elliptical orbits, the heliocentric system was fundamentally right. Copernicus was also correct about the earth rotating on its axis, contrary to Scripture.

        Similarly, Newton’s model of universal gravitation was close to right, but improved by Einstein. We still don’t fully understand gravity, but know more about it now than Newton did. He thought it worked at a distance instantaneously. Einstein showed that it worked at light speed.

        The orbital model of the atom was good enough for government work, although again needed improvement.

        But I would agree that not all models are wrong. The good ones stand the test of time, with refinement now and then.

      • You doth protest too much.
        An approximation is still wrong. It’s just not wrong enough to matter.

      • >>
        He [Newton] thought it worked at a distance instantaneously. Einstein showed that it worked at light speed.
        <<

        The speed-of-gravity is still a debated property. If you use Newton, then it’s instantaneous. Einstein assumed gravity travels at C. I wonder what propagation speed they use for those super-computer galaxy simulations. I suspect it’s instantaneous, but I’ve yet to find out.

        Quantum entanglement communication appears to be instantaneous–even though EPR tried to ridicule it.

        Jim

  12. Funded by…NASA Carbon Monitoring System. Haven’t they got anything else to do? Lots of Carbon in spoil heaps where there used to be working coal mines in Britain. Should I help them by sending them a map?

  13. Short-term charts for a poorly understood system is laughable. Why not chart out dark matter while you’re at it.

  14. Obama outlawed incandescent light bulbs. The next Dem can outlaw beans for dinner, unless it’s a Latino dinner.

  15. I thought water could not penetrate the stratosphere, due to the cold trap in the tropopause. Therefore the hydroxyl radical can only come from atmospheric oxygen and methane, activated by UV radiation, and then only as an intermediate product in this transformation:

    2xO2 + CH4 + UV radiation => CO2 + 2xH2O

    like 2xO2 + CH4 => CO + 2xOH +H2O => CO2 +2xH2O

    In this case at any one time there should be half as much carbon monoxide in the stratosphere as hydroxyl radical. Do they also observe its concentration?

      • Ozone can be an intermediate product indeed, but there is very little water in the stratosphere, so the O radicals will have to react with methane to form hydroxyl radicals. And the carbon left behind will also react with an O radical, giving life to carbon monoxide, as an intermediate product. That’s what I am referring to.

    • If water can’t reach the stratosphere, how can polar stratospheric clouds and noctilucent clouds form?

    • Berényi Péter April 18, 2017 at 12:12 pm
      I thought water could not penetrate the stratosphere, due to the cold trap in the tropopause. Therefore the hydroxyl radical can only come from atmospheric oxygen and methane, activated by UV radiation

      Some water can pass through the tropopause at a very low concentration it’s not an absolute block, certainly tropical storms can push some through. Brewer suggested that the entering air was dehydrated at the pacific cold point of the tropopause. Also many planes fly above the tropopause and emit water into the stratosphere, methane as I recall contributes about 30% of the water.

  16. Just perhaps the onset of El Ninos with their immense masses of warm subsurface waters being brought to the surface mid Pacific with a consequent reaction between the biological organisms of those warm subsurface waters and the atmosphere above particularly when the El Nino occurs in certain parts of the Pacific equatorial regions, has led to large variations in global methane levels and hydroxyls.

    Which would go some way towards explaining the short term slow downs in methane emissions and levels and then the acceleration again to higher methane levels on a global basis.

    El Ninos / La Ninas are arguably the greatest single short term climate and weather affecting phenomenon on the planet, a phenomenon which has yet to have its direct non climate, non weather effects on so many other factors in our global environment examined at any significant level of research.

  17. For some reason I found this comment in the article refreshing: “The researchers also would like to see the trends they detected verified with a more detailed study of both methane sources and sinks.”

    A researcher calling for others to help verify his results. Maybe he’ll even be willing to provide the data he’s accumulated thus far. Almost sounds like a scientist instead of an advocate.

  18. Basic atmospheric chemistry:
    UV light in the upper atmosphere breaks oxygen (O2) molecules into atomic oxygen (2 O atoms).
    Ozone can also be made by electric discharges in air, or by nitrogen oxides in smog.
    Atomic oxygen then can combine with an oxygen molecule to make ozone (O3) molecules – not uncommon in the upper atmosphere (the ‘ozone layer’), smog, and electrical storms.
    Ozone can later break down to release an oxygen atom and an oxygen molecule.
    The oxygen atom (O) will react with water (H2O), making two hydroxyl radicals (OH·), which are NOT the same as hydroxide ions (OH-).
    The hydroxyl radicals will start the chain of decomposition for methane (CH4).
    The methane that the atmospheric scientists usually measure is at the lower levels of the atmosphere, the same region where the ozone is generated by storms and smog.

  19. Umm – yuh.
    Purple bicycles in eccentric orbit may or may not unhurriedly but swimming and rowlocks evidentially by the aforementioned means hippopotamus twenty carbon and whereby doom doom Henry the Eighth yes carbon tool use its all the capitalists fault Bethlehem and Red Socks see I told you Trump was evil.

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