Global climate models may be misjudging methane releases into the atmosphere

From the Ohio State University and the “settled science” department.

Results suggest more methane may be released into atmosphere than thought

COLUMBUS, Ohio–A study of a Lake Erie wetland suggests that scientists have vastly underestimated the number of places methane-producing microbes can survive — and, as a result, today’s global climate models may be misjudging the amount of methane being released into the atmosphere.

In the journal Nature Communications, researchers at The Ohio State University and their colleagues describe the discovery of the first known methane-producing microbe that is active in an oxygen-rich environment.

At a Lake Erie wetland [Old Woman Creek National Estuarine Research Reserve], researchers at The Ohio State University and their colleagues have discovered first known methane-producing microbe that is active in an oxygen-rich environment. CREDIT Photo by Jordan Angle, courtesy of The Ohio State University.

Oxygen is supposed to be toxic to such microbes, called methanogens, but the newly named Candidatus Methanothrix paradoxum thrives in it.

In fact, 80 percent of the methane in the wetland under study came from oxygenated soils. The microbe’s habitat extends from the deepest parts of a wetland, which are devoid of oxygen, all the way to surface soils.

“We’ve always assumed that oxygen was toxic to all methanogens,” said Kelly Wrighton, project leader and professor of microbiology at Ohio State. “That assumption is so far entrenched in our thinking that global climate models simply don’t allow for methane production in the presence of oxygen. Our work shows that this way of thinking is outdated, and we may be grossly under-accounting for methane in our existing climate models.”

More work needs to be done before researchers can determine exactly how much more methane is out there, but the microbe’s habitat appears to be global.

Searching publically available databases, the researchers found traces of Candidatus Methanothrix paradoxum in more than 100 sites across North America, South America, Europe and Asia. The organism lives in rice paddies, wetlands and peatlands–even as far north as the Arctic. It just hadn’t been cataloged before, and its unusual metabolism hadn’t been discovered.

Researchers have long known that wetlands are Earth’s largest natural source of methane. They’ve placed estimates on the amount of methane produced globally based on the notion that only the oxygen-free portion of any wetland could harbor methanogens.

In just the last decade, ocean researchers have seen evidence of methane being produced in oxygenated water, and dubbed the phenomenon the “methane paradox,” but no microorganism has been found to be responsible.

The newly discovered wetland microbe is the first such organism ever found. That’s why Wrighton and her team named it Candidatus Methanothrix paradoxum.

The researchers weren’t expecting to make that particular discovery in November 2014, when they collected soil samples from sites around Old Woman Creek National Estuarine Research Reserve, a 573-acre freshwater wetland on the southern point of Lake Erie near Huron, Ohio. Their goal was to map the metabolism of the microbes that lived there, to better understand how methane was being produced in general.

When doctoral student Jordan Angle analyzed the samples, he found something strange: Soils that were rich in oxygen contained more methane than soils that lacked oxygen.

“I didn’t believe it, and thought he’d gotten the samples mixed up,” Wrighton said.

After Angle repeated the experiment two more times and got the same results, the team returned to the site over six months in 2015, April through October. They found that, in some cases, oxygenated soils contained 10 times as much methane as nonoxygenated soils.

Then researchers sequenced microbe DNA from the soils and assembled genomes for the most plentiful organism, which turned out to be the new methane producing microbe. These methane producing microbes contribute to the fact that although wetlands cover only 6 percent of the Earth’s surface, they account for about one-third of all atmospheric methane, estimated at 160 million tons–at least, that was the estimate before this discovery.

Wetlands are not the villains of the story, though. They do a lot of good for the environment–from filtering contaminants out of the water to providing a critical animal habitat–and they store much more greenhouse gas than they emit. Globally, wetlands sequester as much as 700 billion tons of carbon that would otherwise raise global temperatures, were it to enter the atmosphere.

“Since late 18th century, 90 percent of Ohio’s wetland resources have been destroyed or degraded through draining, filling or other modifications,” Wrighton said. “It is imperative especially for the natural wetlands like this one that we preserve and protect these resources.”

###

The paper: Methanogenesis in oxygenated soils is a substantial fraction of wetland methane emissions

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-017-01753-4

Abstract:

The current paradigm, widely incorporated in soil biogeochemical models, is that microbial methanogenesis can only occur in anoxic habitats. In contrast, here we show clear geochemical and biological evidence for methane production in well-oxygenated soils of a freshwater wetland. A comparison of oxic to anoxic soils reveal up to ten times greater methane production and nine times more methanogenesis activity in oxygenated soils. Metagenomic and metatranscriptomic sequencing recover the first near-complete genomes for a novel methanogen species, and show acetoclastic production from this organism was the dominant methanogenesis pathway in oxygenated soils. This organism, Candidatus Methanothrix paradoxum, is prevalent across methane emitting ecosystems, suggesting a global significance. Moreover, in this wetland, we estimate that up to 80% of methane fluxes could be attributed to methanogenesis in oxygenated soils. Together, our findings challenge a widely held assumption about methanogenesis, with significant ramifications for global methane estimates and Earth system modeling.

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108 thoughts on “Global climate models may be misjudging methane releases into the atmosphere

  1. Well that’s an easy fix. Just take out all the O2 from the soil and sequester it. Or we could combine it with another element like Hydrogen or Carbon .. oh wait.

    And what is the difference between soils rich in O2 and not? I grew up in NW Ohio where it was once under Lake Erie and then was a forest and the soils are rich in peat. Even today the soil is drained even though it is over 1,000 above sea level. Grows a lot of corn, beans and wheat.

    So just what are we to do here to prevent a historic calamity? This has been going on since the early 1800’s when the land was first cleared. It may be an interesting finding, but does it really amount to a hill of beans (no pun intended)?

    • Our work shows that this way of thinking is outdated

      Oh it’s a “way of thinking” that is “outdated”. That’s a relief, for a moment it looked like it was flat out wrong, unjustified assumptions which were not just a bit off but diametrically opposed to the true situation.

      Now maybe we can get too look at how many other bits of “outdated thinking” are leading to entrenched arbitrary assumptions which are diametrically opposed to reality.

      Baby steps, but progress none the less.

      • Climate science’s way of thinking is out of date?

        Surely that is up there for the understatement of the century.

        They aren’t good with irony these turkey, are they?

    • At least they are out getting their hands and feet dirty and letting the data lead to the conclusions.

  2. “After Angle repeated the experiment two more times and got the same results”

    Wait – climate science doesn’t involved repeated experiments /sarc

    • Not just repeated experiments – climate science is not supposed to involve any experiments at all. just unverified models! That is where the students went wrong – they assumed that experiments are the real way to gain knowledge! Their grade on this PhD test = F!

    • If his work didn’t agree with the climate model, then it is wrong. Sorry. End of dispute. Hey NOAA, can you adjust these numbers?

    • Actually, it’s more like they’ve got Trillions of dollars to re-distribute and then skim just a tiny fraction off for their climate research gravy train.

  3. “I know one thing; that I know nothing”. Climate “scientists” could learn a lot from Socrates.

    • Great quote George. I can only concur – the more we find out about the vast complexity of climate-related science, the less we find we knew before.
      Take note Obama, Merkel, May, etc.
      OK, fat chance of that.

    • Yeah, all that unaccounted for CH4 (methane) and still the earth’s warming isn’t running away.
      Perhaps the amount of CO2 and CH4 in the atmosphere doesn’t matter that much?

      • This may actually sound stupid, but it was my expectation that when someone tells me with seeming accuracy that a gas is 400 ppm or that another is 35 ppm, or what ever, it is from analysis of the air that is being sampled, not something guesstimated from assumed release rates. It just naturally made sense that the only way we can find a greater release rate at point A and not have it affect the overall average, then there must be a point B that is releasing at a lower rate than previously thought. I guess ZI just don’t understand “science” anymore.

  4. In a rational world or scientific community, this would not be news.

    In fact, when you really think of it and how this is a very young branch of science- if we grant it that- with hugely incomplete data and a very crude estimate, we would realize it would be nothing short of a MIRACLE if there could not be more methane released than thought. So you do more research, make a new guesstimate, and get a new estimation that will hopefully be more precise and less wrong.

    This is part of how science develops and grows.

    The problem here is something Oliver Cromwell- that man of faith who was no saint- was familiar with.

    “ I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.“

    We are dealing with many people who literally cannot conceive of the idea that they are mistaken. Or at least mistaken significantly.

    • We are dealing with many people who literally cannot conceive of the idea that they are mistaken.

      Self delusion is a powerful thing. And in this case it’s tied into feelings of self-worth, supposedly superior morality, righteousness, smugness, status, livelihood…

      All these feelz validated on a regular, relentless basis by a non-questioning media that has clearly chosen sides.

      • The media is paid to take sides by the financial elite who need tax payers to under-write their risk free investments in ‘renewable energy’. electric cars etc. Its all about the money.

  5. This post to mind this:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Black_Swamp
    I’d linked to it before but it has now been vastly changed.
    The “original” back then slanted toward ridding the area of malaria and open to settlement and farming was a good thing.
    Lots of “methane” has been introduced since then.
    (Sorry, Toledo, you’ve got to go.)

  6. So if there is far more methane being released then they knew: So they have done at least two things wrong in the models (beyond using the model the way they do).

    First the model has the wrong Residence Time for Methane as the present one is based on empirical values they have seen and estimating residence.

    Second the volume of methane entering the system is wrong.

    But don’t worry, the models are very VERY accurate.

    • “So if there is far more methane being released then they knew:”…

      Worse than that……it means there’s far more natural CO2 being released than they know

      CO2 from methane should increase in lock step with the amount of methane released

      • Latitude,

        Methane in the atmosphere is only 1.8 ppmv, if completely converted to CO2, the same 1.8 ppmv. If the amounts per year are about 10 times than was estimated before, then the conversion from CH4 to CO2 must be 10 times faster too: less than a year instead of less than a decade, thus adding 1.8 ppmv/year i.s.o. 0.18 ppmv/year, which is substantial.

        But… the original pre-industrial about 700 ppbv (0.7 ppmv) CH4 was sustained by the biological destruction of plant material, which was captured from the atmosphere a few months to a few decades before, thus more or less a null-operation if one considers periods of decades. What the research has shown is that the cycle is much faster and larger than previously estimated…

        The increase from 700 to currently over 1800 ppbv on the other hand is all human, from the increasing use of natural gas and coal (degassing of the mines), oil (degassing without flare) and increasing rice planting…

    • Apparently the writer can extrapolate from a single small wetland (measured in acres) to a worldwide phenomenon. Do people not need actually to test for the phenomenon in other places, to see whether the microbe exists there (it’s a new one, with a newly-coined name, after all) and actually behaves in other places the way it does near Toledo? To me, the grand conclusion of world-wide spread and effect seems presumptuous.

    • Two possibilities, either we are more doomed than we thought, or climate is less.sensitive to carbon gas release. But just to be safe, we should destroy all remaining wetlands.

  7. So, given the minute temperature rise over the last 50 years, it would appear from this study that methane has even less control over temperature than was previously calculated. ‘More than we thought’ has done less than was modelled.

  8. I do not doubt that methane production by the biosphere is grossly underestimated by the climateers. Overall global biosphere productivity, and by extension the overall carbon cycle, is likely much higher than the climateer’s carbon cycle cartoons would have one believe.
    IOW, If they’ve grossly underestimated natural methane, they’ve likely far underestimated the natural CO2 cycle as well.

    The problem for them is if they try to add another GHG forcing to their junk models, they’ll run even hotter than they already do.

    • No problem here, just “re-paramaterize” the curve fitting to the known data until you get a good fit again and off you go into predicting temperatures for the year 2100.

      • Someone should popularize the cost-per-degree of projected non-warming by 2100. They want to prevent what, 2 degrees of warming by then?

        What would it work out to – 50 trillion dollars per degree?

    • “The problem for them is if they try to add another GHG forcing to their junk models, they’ll run even hotter than they already do.”

      That’s what I was thinking, too. Extra methane is not going to make the models any more accurate.

  9. My first question was how did they get funded and how did they get published but then… Then I remembered that methane was a more potent greenhouse gas (in the models) than even the magic molecule CO2 and it all made sense.

    • Water vapor is an even more potent greenhouse gas. Especially in the higher latitude winters. It explains the rise in global temperature without the trace gasses having to be considered. It also explains why the tropics don’t overheat.

      Methane, shmethane!
      If “Mother Gaia” lost her oceans to the heliosphere this rock would look just like Mars.

  10. As we saw with the plant respiration article just the other day, it becomes more and more clear that they know nothing much about how this all works together. If this is a substantial source of methane, then every estimate they’ve used so far has been wrong, since we’re not seeing a jump in the % of methane. What other numbers are also wrong, and why isn’t this causing the retraction of prior papers?

    • Max,

      Neither the previous research and this onse makes much difference for climate models, as climate models use CO2 and CH4 levels, not how much is generated and removed/destroyed in cycles of these gases. The greenhouse effect is a matter of levels and that is the result of future “scenario’s” used by the modellers, based on estimates of human emissions…

    • Somebody should check out landfill sites used for garbage. The most modern sites arrange the waste in windrows with machines to turn over the waste for aeration.

      If methanogenic bacteria can function well in aerated waste in landfill sites, aeration is less effective than was thought when the decision to invest in aeration was made and the cost per ton of methane production avoided is higher than estimated.

  11. In the 1990’s, The NSF drill ship JOIDES Resolution (previously the Sedco/BP 471) discovered organisms in the deep ocean formations that convert methane (from hydrates) into CO2, and others that convert dissolved CO2 into methane. The CO2 is transported through the seabed formations via permeability U-tubes to/from the ocean water. It is not known which organism is more prevalent, but indications were that such organisms represent 5-10% of the earth;s total biomass = a big deal. Another modeling challenge and uncertainty/risk. (NSF Ocean Drilling Program), and now International Ocean Drilling Program, using the , originally an oil exploration rig)

  12. “More work needs to be done before researchers can determine exactly how much more methane is out there, but the microbe’s habitat appears to be global.”

    Send more money!

    • Patrick,
      They checked 2x more before they were satisfied the results were right so, IN THIS CASE, I don’t think the call for more $$ is significant or important. What is important to realize is that, if true, 30% more methane globally means that t1/2 has to be reduced by 30% so CH4 is even less important. This is another nail in the CACA coffin.

  13. When are the modelers going to admit they know very little about all the interactions in the atmosphere and the sources/sinks of gases? As new papers keep identifying new and unanticipated things in this ball we call earth, all it proves is that the modelers are tuning the models to give a predetermined output. At some point they should admit that the current models simply have to be inaccurate!

      • Nick Stokes
        Yes like so much settled science is all armchair theory from lazy a$$ no nothings!
        When they get of their vast, seat hugging, complacencies and actually do the required observation and measurements, THEN and only then is it truly science.
        All else is just loud wet farts from over-certified idiots.

    • My guess is that the Will-o-the wisp is from some kind of chemiluminesence, possibly involving reduced sulfur/phosphorous species. I don’t think anyone knows for sure. It would be nice to record some spectra.

  14. Methane is the myth that the faithful weep great gobs of salty tears over. It really is quite heart-rending to witness and I do genuinely sympathise with their very genuine anguish – however misplaced it is.

    The hypothesis is that methane clathrates on the sea floor and in permafrost will decompose at some temperature threshold releasing vast volumes of the ‘ultra-killer’ GHG methane into the atmosphere. And when that happens it’s all over folks – Thermageddon assured.

    When you ask them why that didn’t happen during Medieval, Roman, Minoan etc. etc. warm periods there is no answer. Why didn’t it happen when there was no ice on the planet at all and plesiosaurs and mosasaurs desported themselves in the warm waters of the Western Interior Seaway? No answer – but this most pernicious of alarmist myths just frightens the bejezus out of them anyway.

  15. ” today’s global climate models may be misjudging the amount of methane being released into the atmosphere”
    This paper comes from a microbiology department. The story about GCMs looks like an embellishment from some PR guy writing a press release. GCMs use gas partial pressures as input, not fluxes. They may add on a CO2 emissions converter, but I very much doubt that any try to relate CH4 concentration to emissions. There is just no reliable emissions data.

    What the abstract in fact says is
    “The current paradigm, widely incorporated in soil biogeochemical models”
    Climate models are not mentioned in the paper.

    • ….“We’ve always assumed that oxygen was toxic to all methanogens,” said Kelly Wrighton, project leader and professor of microbiology at Ohio State. “That assumption is so far entrenched in our thinking that global climate models simply don’t allow for methane production in the presence of oxygen. Our work shows that this way of thinking is outdated, and we may be grossly under-accounting for methane in our existing climate models…”

      Kelly Wrighton, PROJECT LEADER. Not “some PR guy writing a press release.” Her initials are all-over the “contributions” list.

    • “…They may add on a CO2 emissions converter, but I very much doubt that any try to relate CH4 concentration to emissions. There is just no reliable emissions data…”

      Not how NASA understands it (well, they apparently at least try to pretend the emissions data is reliable, at least for the Arctic)
      https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/MethaneMatters/

      “…Since most climate models assume virtually no Arctic methane emissions in the winter, key assumptions will need an update…”

      More from San Diego St and NOAA, published in PNAS (my caps for emphasis)…
      http://www.climatechangenews.com/2016/01/06/arctic-methane-emissions-greater-than-previous-estimates/

      “…Scientists have for some years been ACCURATELY MEASURING ARCTIC METHANE EMISSIONS AND INCORPORATING THE RESULTS INTO THEIR CLIMATE MODELS…”

      Ok, so those are Arctic. This study involves wetlands. Here’s an interesting Sept 2017 publication http://www.pnas.org/content/114/36/9647.abstract says…

      “…Wetland methane (CH4) emissions are the largest natural source in the global CH4 budget, contributing to roughly one third of total natural and anthropogenic emissions. As the second most important anthropogenic greenhouse gas in the atmosphere after CO2, CH4 is strongly associated with climate feedbacks. However, due to the paucity of data, wetland CH4 feedbacks were not fully assessed in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report…”

      Dang. Sounds like major shortcomings in the “science is settled” department. But don’t let “paucity of data” (or, as you say, “no reliable emissions day”) stop us! We can still model the rest of the century!

      “…Here we present an ensemble estimate of wetland CH4 emissions driven by 38 general circulation models for the 21st century…”

      Too funny.

    • Nick, from your comment “The story about GCMs looks like an embellishment from some PR guy writing a press release.” in lies the problem. Other folks or even Journalists (i.e. The Guardian) will not be so diligent of the context. They will go with the press release as it was written.

    • “There is just no reliable emissions data.”

      That hasn’t stopped the AGWers just making stuff up in many other areas, has it.

    • The most spectacular straw-man yet, Nick. Kudos. (Well, I’ve been coming to WUWT for only about six months so if I’m selling you short please forgive me)

  16. Roll Up, Roll Up Laydees and Gentlemen.

    Here we have the future climate scare. No longer will our climate be dominated by CO2.

    There’s no need for ‘models’ to be accurate any longer, indeed, there will be no need for models at all, we were just experimenting with those. But in this here bottle I have the elixir of all future climate change, I present to you, Laydees and Gentlemen, the greenhouse gas of the future, METHANE.

    Guaranteed to rid us of those pestilent, devilish, climate sceptics. Only $1.00 a bottle, cheap at twice the price to rid ourselves of the heretics.

    The future is, indeed, METHANE!

  17. Either partial pressured based assumptions or flow based in the GCMs, this result undermines concerns about methane leaks in naturals gas pipes and wells. Where B. Obama wanted companies to spend $B fixing all of them.

    • ThinAir,

      Not completely: CH4 levels increased from 700 ppbv to over 1800 ppbv in the past 167 years, so no matter the above research, the effect of methane on temperature (if anything measurable…) more than doubled.
      If the above research is true, then the decay rate of methane in the atmosphere was much faster, than also means that human emissions are much larger…

      • With an understanding that Bio-Mass has increased exponentially with the increase of CO2 and methane is converted to CO2 by oxidative action that higher concentrations of Oxygen from all the increased Greening in those “wetlands” the conversion would be faster than before. Globally the Oxygen in the atmosphere is gradually depleted and yet the environment is becoming greener exponentially because there is an exponentially increased CO2 adding more Oxygen by photosynthesis. In other words, the environment is self correcting as one thing depends upon other things.

  18. Isn’t methane and virtually all gases measured in the atmosphere? Also, bunch of kids digging dirt didn’t end up aerating the sample?

    See, here is what happened. In their work, they discovered a new microbe. Now, they are already researching methane and global warming, a humdrum exercise. This finding got them thinking. Gee a new bacterium that makes methane (basically that’s what such little beasties do in a swamp). Wow, we must be underestimating the amount of meth being produced, although any Ohio State student of accountancy could have explained to the buggologists that the work of this bug and all known AND unknown bugs at work, along with digestive tracts of all animals, domesticated, wild and undiscovered are part of the gross quantity we measure. Wee Candidatus Methanothrix paradoxum’s gut is already part of the gross audit. Now wash your hands and make me devilled egg sandwich.

    • Termites are huge methane producers (actually they’re pretty small but cumulatively they make a lot of methane).

  19. Lets see, the models already run hot, but they are missing up to 1/3 of the methane in the system. Wouldn’t that mean they are even hotter than they thought, or more critically that the sensitivity to greenhouse gasses is even lower than the low end they are already projecting?

  20. The paper doesn’t have anything to do with climate models. But as a matter of biochemistry, it’s very interesting. It would indeed be expected that micro-organisms could not release methane in he presence of oxygen. Methane is a highly reduced form of carbon, and if part of a synthetic pathway, some active precursor would be expected to be oxidised.

    There is an analogue in nitrogen fixation by Rhizobia. Nitrogen is reduced to ammonia, and it’s hard to see that happening if oxygen could be reduced instead. But a lot of energy is required from the reduction, and that requires oxygen respiration. The ingenious answer (legumes) are root nodules with a hemoglobin molecule (very rare in plants). This leghemoglobin allows oxygen to be conveyed to the oxidative metabolism and yet be separated from the nitrogen reduction.

    • Hey we engineered a bacteria that can convert CO2 directly to energy in solution
      https://www.sciencealert.com/this-genetically-engineered-bacteria-can-inhale-co2-and-produce-energy

      So all we need to do produce a different airborne aggressive variant which I name as “C02scrubbusmaximus”. It shall convert all CO2 molecules in the air and when it comes in contact with any climate model it will immediately nest, adjusting said model to the new low CO2 simulation.

    • Nick,

      Thanks for the info… Indeed strange biochemistry, unexpected as most bacteria use oxydation as energy source.
      Life sometimes need strong chemicals to reach their source of energy: white rot fungi use chlorinated chemicals (which costs a lot of energy to make) to break down lignin, the chaotic glue within trees, which is very difficult to attack. When that is done, they can reach the cellulose, the energy source they need.
      As byproduct lots of methylchloride are set free, which is the main natural destructor of ozone in the stratosphere…

      You are right, as good as for the previous research, the CO2 cycles or CH4 cycles have nothing to do with climate models, as these work with quantities in the air, not fluxes…

  21. Nice try to sound ‘scientific’ Nick. Only one problem ‘rhizobia’ is the plural of ‘rhizobium’ and they are common nouns, not to be used with a Capital letter. Rhizobium with a capital letter is something completely different, and you can’t have Rhizobia because there is no plural.
    By the way methane is the most reduced form of carbon, not ‘highly’ reduced, as there are 4 H bonds with carbon.
    3 out of 10 for effort.

  22. More work needs to be done before researchers can determine exactly how much more methane is out there, but the microbe’s habitat appears to be global.

    If CO2 is claimed to have been measured around the Earth, why is methane not measured as well, rather than just guessing with a model?

  23. Looks like Biologists who do not understand chemistry rue the day! Splendid! DOE Chief Big Foot Scientist Calls President Trump, “President, We Do Not Have A Shit In Hell Of Figuring This Out!”
    President Trump,”I’ve seen that before! I Will Handle It!”
    Hahahahahhahaha

  24. Global climate models may be misjudging methane releases into the atmosphere

    Not only that. Catastrophic Anthropogenic Carbon Apocalypse scientists seem to be misjudging carbon mass in the universe. What on Gaia is mankind supposed to do about it?

    • Why not drain the political ones and build concrete and steel parking decks over others? I say forget about CO2, Methane, and think about capitalism and our wonderful greening planet.

  25. It’s a well established fact that “global climate models” don’t “model” “global” or “climate” at all. They’re 4th grade math put into Excel to scare people.

  26. “Wetlands are not the villains of the story, though. They do a lot of good for the environment–from filtering contaminants out of the water to providing a critical animal habitat–and they store much more greenhouse gas than they emit. Globally, wetlands sequester as much as 700 billion tons of carbon that would otherwise raise global temperatures, were it to enter the atmosphere.”

    “These methane producing microbes contribute to the fact that although wetlands cover only 6 percent of the Earth’s surface, they account for about one-third of all atmospheric methane, estimated at 160 million tons–at least, that was the estimate before this discovery.”

    http://enviroliteracy.org/air-climate-weather/climate/sources-sinks/

    “Methane
    Another important greenhouse gas is methane, which has both natural and human sources. Natural sources of methane include wetlands, gas hydrates, permafrost, termites, oceans, freshwater bodies, non-wetland soils, and other sources such as wildfires. Human activities that produce methane include fossil fuel production and transport, livestock and manure management, rice cultivation, and waste management (i.e., landfills and the burning of biomass). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that 60% of total global methane emissions are related to human activities.”

    http://www.iloveco2.com/2009/04/termites-emit-ten-times-more-co2-than.html

    “Not only is carbon dioxide’s total greenhouse effect puny, mankind’s contribution to it is minuscule. The overwhelming majority (97%) of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere comes from nature, not from man. Volcanoes, swamps, rice paddies, fallen leaves, and even insects and bacteria produce carbon dioxide, as well as methane. According to the journal Science (Nov. 5, 1982), termites alone emit ten times more carbon dioxide than all the factories and automobiles in the world.”

    “Natural wetlands emit more greenhouse gases than all human activities combined. (If greenhouse warming is such a problem, why are we trying to save all the wetlands?) Geothermal activity in Yellowstone National Park emits ten times the carbon dioxide of a midsized coal-burning power plant, and volcanoes emit hundreds of times more. In fact, our atmosphere’s composition is primarily the result of volcanic activity. There are about 100 active volcanoes today, mostly in remote locations, and we’re living in a period of relatively low volcanic activity.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmospheric_methane

    “Methane in the Earth’s atmosphere is a strong greenhouse gas with a global warming potential (GWP) 104 times greater than CO2 in a 20-year time frame; methane is not as persistent a gas as CO2 and tails off to about GWP of 28 for a 100-year time frame. [4][11] This means that a methane emission will have 28 times the impact on temperature of a carbon dioxide emission of the same mass over the following 100 years. Methane has a large effect but for a relatively brief period, having an estimated lifetime of 8.9±0.6 years in the atmosphere,[12] whereas carbon dioxide has a small effect for a long period, having an estimated lifetime of over 100 years.”

    “The concentration of methane in Earth’s atmosphere has increased by about 150% since 1750, and it now accounts for 20% of the total radiative forcing from all of the long-lived and globally mixed greenhouse gases.[14]”

    Note that the methane in the graph is from 2017 and it is in (ppb) yes, parts per billion. It is monitored like CO2 at Mauna Loa, Hawaii. So the article saying that “Our work shows that this way of thinking is outdated, and we may be grossly under-accounting for methane in our existing climate models.” With all these GHG that are combined there has not been any Global Warming and yet they said “Globally, wetlands sequester as much as 700 billion tons of carbon that would otherwise raise global temperatures, were it to enter the atmosphere.” Which brings me to the point that for all the sources that still say outright or imply that GHG cause an effect on our climate to warm, it has not or is not doing it. Therefore, these people are greatly uninformed and doing more Climate Alarmism when evidence shows it is not happening the way they are saying it does.

    • johchi7 November 21, 2017 at 3:36 am

      “Methane in the Earth’s atmosphere is a strong greenhouse gas with a global warming potential (GWP) 104 times greater than CO2 in a 20-year time frame; methane is not as persistent a gas as CO2 and tails off to about GWP of 28 for a 100-year time frame. [4][11] This means that a methane emission will have 28 times the impact on temperature of a carbon dioxide emission of the same mass over the following 100 years. Methane has a large effect but for a relatively brief period, having an estimated lifetime of 8.9±0.6 years in the atmosphere,[12] whereas carbon dioxide has a small effect for a long period, having an estimated lifetime of over 100 years.”

      That gobbledygook tells us precisely nothing about how much methane will run up global temperatures. What people need to know is:

      “How much at today’s concentration and rate of increase will methane run up temperature by 2100?”

      Answer that and you will have said something other than the nothing burger you posted above

      • Michael Hart you re-quoted what I quoted from a link I provided, that in the last paragraph I made it clear that all these GHG as trace gases combined are not warming the planet as they say they are. That what I quoted from those links was setting up the case of what is believed by scientists and not supported by reality that the cooling trend has been occurring. Your “nothing burger” is your lack of comprehension.

      • It was nearing 2 hours after my bedtime after a 9 hour work shift when I put that information together. If you really look at pie charts given online and the size of the sliver given to methane compared to CO2 it is greatly overstated, when CO2 is ppm and methane in ppb. And even that methane may have 20X the effect of CO2 it is minuscule in comparison, when CO2 has proven to show zero evidence of warming.

      • Excellent clarification Johchi. I also like how you’ve mentioned that we produce 3% of the CO2 emissions.

    • ““The concentration of methane in Earth’s atmosphere has increased by about 150% since 1750, and it now accounts for 20% of the total radiative forcing from all of the long-lived and globally mixed greenhouse gases.[14]””

      Ha ha ha……. CH4 doesn’t decompose to CO2 after all?

  27. Of course they are misjudging it.
    If someone claimed they had a good model of all the worlds current and future bacteria, never mind the insects, people would laugh themselves hoarse. So why should their models of bacterial biochemical end-products be any more believable?

    • mathematics has replaced actual science in many fields, Astronomy, Climate, paleo among many others

    • Biomedical, psychology too.

      Any field of science that has reverted to mathematical only solutions, have become largely bunk fields of science, like Neuroscience as well

  28. Do I understand this? Methane is supposed to cause 20X more warming than CO2, but there is less than 1/200 of the CO2 concentration with methane, so it has 1/10th of an almost measurable effect?

    • It’s easy to understand, #fearfactor

      Generally believeres just hear “methane” and get hysterical. 97%.. of alarmists never read a scientific publication in their lives

    • stevekeohane November 21, 2017 at 5:33 am
      Do I understand this? Methane is supposed to cause 20X more warming than CO2, but there is less than 1/200 of the CO2 concentration with methane, so it has 1/10th of an almost measurable effect?

      The key to understanding the “…methane is pound for pound so many times more powerful than CO2..” bullshit is to understand that methane on average, since 1984 when records start, is increasing at a rate of less than 10 parts per BILLION per year. That is compared to how much temperature would rise due to an increase of 10 parts per BILLION in CO2.

      CO2 is in the atmosphere at 400 parts per MILLION. Increasing CO2 by 10 parts per BILLION is an increase of 0.01 parts per MILLION. So it’s a question of how much CO2 will run up temperatures at 400 ppm compared to 400.01 ppm. Or as a percentage, increasing CO2 by 0.0025%. That is essentially nothing. Multiplying nearly nothing by 20 or 104 or any number in between is still nearly nothing. Not to put too fine a point on it, the Global Warming Potential charts that you find in the various IPCC reports are so much meaningless bullshit.

      • The actual quantity of CH4 in the atmosphere is almost never mentioned,
        and most people find it difficult to visualize 1PPM, and certainly not
        1PPB.

        I use the simple device of explaining that CO2 in the atmosphere, rounded
        to the nearest one tenth of one percent, is zero.

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