Worse than we thought: Global fossil fuel emissions of hydrocarbons are underestimated

From the UNIVERSITY OF YORK and the “blame Russia” department.

Global levels of ethane and propane in the atmosphere have been underestimated by more than 50%, new research involving scientists at the University of York has revealed.

These hydrocarbons are particularly harmful in large cities where, through chemical reactions with emissions from cars, they form ozone – a greenhouse gas which is a key component of smog and directly linked to increases in mortality.

Ethane and propane escape into the air from leaks during natural gas extraction and distribution, including from fracking – the process of drilling down into the earth and fracturing rock to extract shale gas. This new study shows that global fossil fuel emissions of these hydrocarbons have been underestimated and are a factor of 2-3 times higher than previously thought.

The authors of the international study involving researchers from York, Oslo and Colorado are now calling for further investigation into fossil fuel emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas which is emitted along with ethane and propane from natural gas sources.

Co-author of the study, Professor Lucy Carpenter from the Department of Chemistry at the University of York, said: “We know that a major source of ethane and propane in the atmosphere is from “fugitive” or unintentional escaping emissions during fossil fuel extraction and distribution. If ethane and propane are being released at greater rates than we thought, then we also need to carefully re-evaluate how much of the recent growth of methane in the atmosphere may also have come from oil and natural gas development. The current policy case for fracking, for example, is partly based on the belief that it is less polluting that coal.”

The study used data collected from 20 observatories world-wide. The researchers from the University of York provided high-resolution data from a monitoring station in Cape Verde – a crucial location in the Atlantic which captures air blown over the Sahara, from North America, the Middle East and North Africa.

Fig. 3: Comparison of year 2011 modelled and observed ethane and propane at surface sites.

Like other hydrocarbons, when ethane and propane mix with nitrogen oxides from vehicles and power plants they form ozone in the troposphere – the lowest layer of the atmosphere that constitutes the air we breathe. While ozone in the Earth’s second layer of atmosphere – the stratosphere – is desirable, ground level ozone has damaging consequences for ecosystems and human health.

Scientists need to understand accurately the levels of hydrocarbons in the atmosphere to predict the exposure of populations to ozone. This is particularly important for some suburban and rural areas which are already known to be on the edge of the limits of safe exposure.

Professor Ally Lewis, a co-author of the study from the Department of Chemistry at the University of York added: “Levels of ethane and propane declined in many places the 1980s and 1990s, but global growth in demand for natural gas means these trends may be reversing. The effects of higher ozone would be felt in the rural environment where it damages crops and plants, and in cities on human health.

“Tropospheric ozone causes a variety of serious health complaints and along with particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide is one of the three major causes of pollution-related deaths.”


Added: The paper: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41561-018-0073-0

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February 26, 2018 8:33 am

Oh no! We’re gonna die from propane & ethane in the air. Quick, what are the % concentrations so we can start worrying about it.

Reply to  beng135
February 26, 2018 8:42 am

LEL for propane is 2.2% and it’s 3% for ethane… If I remember correctly.

Reply to  SMC
February 26, 2018 9:29 am

I see — parts per trillion on the charts. So now I’m really worried. /sarc

Bryan A
Reply to  SMC
February 26, 2018 10:14 am

So we just need to capture that Ozone and transport it to the Antarctic Ozone Holes to fill in the blanks

Rick C PE
Reply to  SMC
February 26, 2018 10:24 am

Beng135==> But if they used a 0 to 6 ppb scale it would just not look scary enough.

February 26, 2018 8:36 am

With nature not cooperating and failing to convince everyone the world will self destruct due to CO2 they’re falling back to the old reliable ozone depletion.

Reply to  markl
February 26, 2018 8:42 am

Naah. This deals with the US EPA and CARB’ s favorite reason to restrict development, ground level ozone. As the model is that volatile organic compounds, like propane, react to cause ozone, which causes all sorts of evil effects, the regulated entity cannot do whatever it was they were doing the regulators disapprove of.

Reply to  Tom Halla
February 26, 2018 12:46 pm

Right. Ozone near the ground is evil, ozone in the upper atmosphere is necessary.

Paula Cohen
February 26, 2018 8:44 am

Why don’t we just eliminate all human life on earth?…which is what I expect the Greenies to say any day now. Just think…7.5 billion fewer flatulent people could make a real reduction in methane in the atmosphere, and leave the planet for the plants and other animals!

Reply to  Paula Cohen
February 26, 2018 9:08 am

I assume the ppt is parts per trillion? While I have no doubt flaring is dumping volatile everything into the air with some unburnt gases and some leakage around the wellhead, as well who know what the Ruskies are doing, 1000 ppt is 1 ppb (billion), which isn’t that much. One good volcano belch in Indonesia probably puts that into the air.
And if it is parts per trillion, why don’t they use ppb and use 1,2,3 on the vertical axis? I guess 3000 looks worse the 3.

Reply to  rbabcock
February 26, 2018 10:10 am

Answered your own question, you did.

Komrade Kuma
Reply to  rbabcock
February 26, 2018 11:47 am

The colour scale says it all. Blue is the calming “its all right your safe now” colour and red/purple “ITS ARMAGEDDON” colour.
I notice in OZ the TV news in particular use a similar scale so in summer the bulk of the continent is SCREAMING purple when its 40˚ and is RED at just 30˚ or so. Purple at 50˚ seems not unreasonable as 50˚ is bloody hot and 40˚ is very hot but not that uncommon. 30˚ is just a summer’s day and a benign orange would seem appropriate.
This is just the marketing industry infiltrating everything. Science ‘communications’ is a bit part of the CAGW scam.

Reply to  rbabcock
February 26, 2018 11:53 am

Your own question answered, you did.

Reply to  rbabcock
February 26, 2018 2:04 pm

Yoda’s not as fast on the uptake as he used to be.

Reply to  Paula Cohen
February 26, 2018 11:40 am

A planet that does not develop intelligent life is a waste of a perfectly good planet. To have a planet with nothing but animals constantly eating each other is by no means idyllic or pleasant and far from peaceful.

Mickey Reno
Reply to  higley7
February 26, 2018 12:53 pm

Yes, but before patriarchal white men colonized the Western hemisphere, all the people that lived here previously knew nothing of hardship, politics, competition over land and scarce resources, tribalism, war, slavery, taking scalps of dead enemies as trophies, raping and stealing conquered women, natural disasters, floods, fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, and the occasional religious impulse to (literally) cut the beating heart out of the chest of a vanquished foe. Oh, wait….

February 26, 2018 8:46 am

Meanwhile the most accurate evah! orbiting mapper of evil carbon dioxide (OCO-2) goes largely uncommented by academia beyond a desultory and shameless series of “data fusion” efforts with modeled data.
It’s a game and not one we should tolerate.

February 26, 2018 8:50 am

So it might go up again until it was as bad as the 1990s… when it wasn’t a problem. These people are just transparent anti-frackers. It embarrasses me to see chemists behaving like this.

Joel Northwall
February 26, 2018 9:00 am

Ah yes, ozone. Nature’s Windex ™. Cleans things up nice and neat. As long as we have an oxygen atmosphere, sunlight, and hydrocarbons of whatever sort, there will be ozone.

Reply to  Joel Northwall
February 27, 2018 9:10 am

Ozone also replaces that nasty chlorine, water purification and other uses and used in Industrial Ozone scrubbers, which clean up other nasty things..
What to do? What to do?
Gotta die of something…

February 26, 2018 9:09 am

Global temperature measurements show that the models are running hot. If we put these new higher emission estimates into the models then they will run even hotter making them more wrong.

Reply to  rovingbroker
February 26, 2018 2:03 pm

Considering that the new numbers are pars per trillion, they probably would register in the climate models either.

Bloke down the pub
February 26, 2018 9:12 am

All the extra intense thunderstorms that they tell us to expect should suck the ozone up to higher altitudes where it can do its day job.

February 26, 2018 9:14 am

There is no need to “estimate” how much of these gases are being released.
They can be, and are being directly measured.

Reply to  MarkW
February 26, 2018 9:17 am

Further – they are all irrelevant – just sayin’

Reply to  MarkW
February 26, 2018 9:19 am

In fact, just a minute ago, I emitted some, I wonder how the green-beanies are going to account for that (oops I just emitted some more)

Reply to  ricksanchez769
February 26, 2018 10:15 am

Color me glad, that I don’t share an office with you.

Reply to  ricksanchez769
February 26, 2018 10:46 am

Weird Al’s cover of Britney Spears?

Dr. Bob
February 26, 2018 9:17 am

When they put these artificial emissions into context with natural emissions and the whole hydrocarbon cycle in the atmosphere, I might begin to look realistically at the situation. But to blame all hydrocarbon emissions on man’s activities is incorrect and should have been addressed in the peer review process.
I remember in SoCal, at least 50% of hydrocarbons in the atmosphere there were due to plant life and nothing can or should be done about that.

Warren Beeton
Reply to  Dr. Bob
February 26, 2018 5:12 pm

You’re confusing accumulated emissions from man’s activities (fossil fuel burning) with the amount of CO2 resident in the atmosphere.

February 26, 2018 9:27 am

…ozone in the Earth’s second layer of atmosphere – the stratosphere – is desirable, ground level ozone has damaging consequences for ecosystems and human health.

Certainly in excess, but tropospheric ozone is essential for good air quality as it eliminates numerous pollutants from the air. I love the fresh air smell of ozone after a thunderstorm.

Reply to  icisil
February 26, 2018 11:48 am

….smells like…victory!

Reply to  rocketscientist
February 26, 2018 2:06 pm

As long as it doesn’t smell like ricksanchez769.

Gary Lampkin
February 26, 2018 9:29 am

Thanking you for your time and effort in helping me understand some of the science related to Earth’s climate, and enlightenment to Left-wing, Liberals practices of fact manipulation, disinformation and other tomfoolery.

mike s
February 26, 2018 9:32 am

Ethane is number 2 on the list of volatile organic compounds that have negligible contribution to ozone formation.

February 26, 2018 9:35 am

I guess we can forget them blaming central Africa……….

February 26, 2018 9:37 am

Methane on a molecule-by-molecule basis is a less potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide and there is currently 235 times as much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as there is methane. If methane increases by a factor of 250, then it becomes comparable to carbon dioxide

Reply to  brycenuc
February 26, 2018 10:18 am

Everything I have read says the opposite. Do you have a source for this claim?
Beyond that, CO2 is pretty close to saturated, so extra molecules of it, don’t have much of an impact.
CH4 on the other hand is a lot further from saturation levels.

February 26, 2018 9:41 am

“Levels of ethane and propane declined in many places the 1980s and 1990s, but global growth in demand for natural gas means these trends may be reversing….”
Are not…we really don’t know. What we do know is how to make mountains out of molehills and spin even good news into impending doom, or at the very least, a very serious problem. You see, the government, which daily proves Menckin right*, pays our salary, and the government is only interested in very serious problems or worse. We would really like to do science and report on it without all of this spin, put we won’t get paid for that. If the boss-man needs hobgoblins, we will give him hobgoblins. It is just part of our job.
*The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. – H. L. Mencken

Albert Brand
February 26, 2018 9:43 am

Methane has a half life of seven years. Really not so long in geological scales.

February 26, 2018 9:44 am

When comparing observations with models you can’t say the differences prove the models are correct.

Reply to  ScienceABC123
February 26, 2018 9:54 am

Unless you’re NASA …. and the data comes from OCO-2

Lars P.
February 26, 2018 10:08 am
J Mac
February 26, 2018 10:12 am

This a thinly veiled hack at an attack on fracking. Fracking is the key technology responsible for the boom in oil and natural gas production in the USA that has driven down energy costs worldwide.
It ‘blows the minds’ of the Anthropogenic Global Warming cadres, who will stop at nothing to bring an end to the US energy successes that benefit a vibrant and growing world economy. These heartless socialists cannot allow the USA to yet again bring low cost, reliable energy to “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”. Keeping people destitute is paramount to their vision of a ‘low carbon consumption’ future. From their sick perspective, the low cost energy enabling technology of fracking must be stopped. Asserting it is ‘causing pollution’ will allow regulating it into oblivion!

Reply to  J Mac
February 26, 2018 12:09 pm

Not even thinly veiled when the project is funded by Norway , a competitor to the US in the global oil and gas markets .
however think of it this way : fracking may produce a very small increase in near ground pollution , but it produces, as the US has demonstrated to a grateful (?) world, a whopping ( we are allowed to use that adjective thanks to Figueres) reduction in CO2 emissions, which the great Obama himself has identified as the No 1 danger to world-well being.

February 26, 2018 10:15 am

The implication is that the atmospheric response to anthropogenic CO2 in the wild is even less significant than previously assumed and more muted than observed.

February 26, 2018 10:15 am

A day in the life of a lib.

Reply to  RWturner
February 26, 2018 12:15 pm

Wow! I never knew liberals all spoke Portuguese.

February 26, 2018 10:25 am

Sit down and shut-up you serfs, only we the elite of the UN are allowed to fly anywhere and run our limousines.
You’re dismissed, on the way out turn the A/C up.

Schrodinger's Cat
February 26, 2018 10:25 am

So now there could be a lot more methane (GHG) than we thought, but we didn’t notice, because the amount of warming didn’t give us cause to go looking for it. Another way of saying this is that the climate sensitivity to methane may be less than we thought. That is no surprise, because climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide seems to be considerably less than we thought, too.
Yet, water vapour as a GHG seems to explain the retention of heat known as the GreenHouse effect. Leaving aside other possibilities such as gravity/gas laws then why does there seem to be a discrepancy between the effectiveness of water vapour and that of other GH gases?
That is a puzzle that has been bugging me for a long time, but as I said, I’m not a climate scientist and I am not certain that such a discrepancy even exists. However, my experience in other fields has taught me that discrepancies like this one, if true, should not be ignored. They can often yield important understanding and flawed assumptions.

Steve Case
February 26, 2018 10:26 am

The authors of the international study involving researchers from York, Oslo and Colorado are now calling for further investigation into fossil fuel emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas …

The so-called popular press endlessly tells us that methane is maybe 20 to over 80 times more powerful as CO2 in trapping heat. They never tell us how much methane will actually run-up global temperatures by 2100. The reason for that is simple. The run-up in global temperature over the next 82 years due to methane might be as much as a few hundredths of a degree. In other words not measurable.
But it doesn’t matter the misleading statistic will continue to be blabbed until the whole house of cards finally comes down.

Robert of Texas
February 26, 2018 10:26 am

People should be terrified by this report! I find a figure of 2×10^22 molecules and atoms (<– Can't think offhand what atoms should be floating around out there by themselves… maybe Helium, Neon, and Argon?) are taken in with each breath, so that's 80,000,000,000 molecules of ethane and propane we take in in every breath we take!!! (Assuming a well mixed atmosphere and average conditions at all places).
Oh, wait, it doesn't look well mixed… OK..So 1/4 of that. STILL, that's 20 BILLION molecules in each breath! The horror!
(You guys just need to learn how to make this sound more scary… You will never make good activists at this rate)
By the way, I am all for clean air. If there ARE obvious sources of these gases being released, reducing the leaks makes sense, especially in high population density areas. But I have always wondered how they go about attributing death to things like Ozone. I have read the studies and they all seem to be based on assumptions the likes of which compare to "Assume the Earth were a perfect cube…".

February 26, 2018 10:36 am

scraping te barrel to find a reason to ban fracking…

Patrick B
February 26, 2018 10:37 am

There isn’t any data associated with the CAGW theory that is accurate enough to use in any analysis for any purpose. Whether we are discussing sources of CO2 or “sinks” for CO2 or the amount of CO2 cycling through the oceans etc. The data is so wildly unreliable that any trained scientist would refuse to use any of it in any analysis. He would know that the associated error analysis would make it impossible to make a statement about the theory.

February 26, 2018 10:40 am

Although the Feb 2018 paper in Geosciences is paywalled the refs are available and i looked at a few that are open access.
From one of them I noticed an introduction that contains some interesting quantitative info on lifetimes , and other information that suggest that the whole picture Re: ethane / propane (which have increased in concentration in the last 10 years ) may not be quite as simple as this feature (which basically blames the US) may at first suggest :
–[2] Ethane (C2H6) is the most abundant non-methane hydrocarbon in the atmosphere. It is an important source of peroxyacetylnitrate (PAN) which serves as a reservoir for nitrogen oxide radicals [Singh and Hanst, 1981; Kanakidou et al., 1991; Kasibhatla et al., 1993]. Its main sources are production, processing and transmission of fossil fuels, biofuel use, and biomass burning. It is the second most abundant constituent of natural gas after methane (CH4). Ethane differs from most other hydrocarbons in that its fossil fuel source is primarily from various phases of natural gas production, transmission, and distribution, rather than from combustion. Atmospheric loss of C2H6 is by reaction with OH, resulting in a mean atmospheric lifetime of ∼2 months [Rudolph, 1995]. Strong correlations are often observed between C2H6 and CH4 in the atmosphere [Bartlett et al., 1996, 2003; Shipham et al., 1998], which could provide valuable constraints on the fuel source of CH4 and its contribution to radiative forcing of climate. Xiao et al. [2004] demonstrated that C2H6-CH4-CO correlations observed downwind of Asia, when interpreted quantitatively with a global chemical transport model, offer unique constraints on the magnitudes of CH4 sources from Asia and Europe. Simpson et al. [2006] used long-term measurements of C2H6 to show that recent fluctuations in the growth rate of CH4 are caused by interannual variability in biomass burning. General exploitation of C2H6-CH4 correlations requires a better understanding of the global sources of C2H6.–
The article in Nature Geoscience was funded by Norway .
Biomass burning as a source ? interesting , could one use these papers as an excuse to close Drax?

Bruce Cobb
February 26, 2018 10:56 am

When determining who’s to blame, the old rule of “he who smelt it dealt it” applies.

February 26, 2018 11:14 am

It’s wonderful to be a liberal in America because there is always a crisis somewhere, and if not we can invent one.

February 26, 2018 11:38 am

We should’ve been able to predict this. Liberals view America as The Great Satan (borrowing a phrase from another highly religious group).
The Russians have now been blamed for liberals failure to win the last US election.
The Russians now inherit the mantle of Great Satan (if only temporarily).
Therefore, now global warming is the Russians’ fault.

Gary Pearse
February 26, 2018 11:42 am

These eco pachecos https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=pacheco
all are lacking a sense of proportion. Parts per trillion! There are 15 trillion centimeters between earth and the sun. So, 1 part per trillion the distance to the sun is 15 centimeters or 6 inches. 2000 ppt of the distance to the sun is then 300m or 984 feet. So this increase of 50% more than we thought is an increase from 200m (660ft) to 300m (984ft) on our journey to the sun.
1) An awful lot of this mouse flatus come from the Congo, India and China where there is no gas production or fracking. The fracking is virtually all in America and there isn’t enough emissions to get us a step or two on the journey to the sun.
2) The piddling amount in the winter is gone before spring. WUWT? I’m sure Willis could easilycompute the short residence time from the graphics.
3) How many ppt extra ozone can this amount add to the lower atmosphere. It seems to me the stoichiometrics is “flatulence in a windstorm”.
York University, Colorado, yeah I get it. But Oslo, WUWT?

February 26, 2018 11:48 am

If emissions are worse than estimated, this makes the modeled predictions worse as well.
Because it means temperature increases aren’t just lagging previously estimated greenhouse gases, they’re lagging even a lot more gas.

Peta of Newark
February 26, 2018 11:56 am

I call total BS on this.

Like other hydrocarbons, when ethane and propane mix with nitrogen oxides from vehicles and power plants they form ozone in the troposphere

Nitrogen chemically combined with oxygen is not a happy alliance.
Hence why nitrogen oxide is referred to as NOx. A given sample of the stuff, dependant on temp and pressure will contain NO, N2O, NO2 and N2O5.Dynamic Equilibrium is the technical term I think.
The biggest and best example of this is almost any ‘nitrate’ – nitrates are the basis of almost all explosives exactly because of that chemical unhappiness. It is an epic oxidising agent. Surprise!!!
Also, ask any farmer who uses nitrogen (nitrate) fertiliser. If you though road-salt was rough on your car, just ask the farmer what ammonium nitrate does anything metallic it touches. Also, it is hugely hygroscopic.
Similar to ozone and why it makes such a good disinfectant and sanitiser. Ozone spontaneously falls apart producing oxygen free-radicals, the most destructive little critters you’d ever wish not to meet.
(Apart from oxygen’s next-door neighbour in the periodic table – fluorine)
They’ll eat anything organic.
Enter ethane and propane – are they not organic chemicals?
Lambs to the slaughter when there’s any NOx or ozone around.
Holy sh1t, have I just explained (properly) the ever changing ‘ozone hole’ over Antarctica? Is it simply ordinary little organics like methane, ethane, propane etc that are eating it?
Doubt it or it wouldn’t have that ‘collar’ around it like it does

Joel Snider
February 26, 2018 12:36 pm

With all these issues apparently at their worst in ‘big cities’, one might wonder why the eco-types are constantly pushing for high-density population centers and preventing expansion into out-lying areas.

Crispin in Waterloo
February 26, 2018 12:42 pm

There is much to object to in this article.
“While ozone in the Earth’s second layer of atmosphere – the stratosphere – is desirable, ground level ozone has damaging consequences for ecosystems and human health.”
Well it is a good thing that there is nearly none in the lower troposphere air. The world’s hotspots have nearly none and the high concentrations are over mountains and cold oceans. The SADC countries in Africa have about the most and they have nearly no industry.comment image
Emphasis added:
“Tropospheric ozone causes a variety of serious health complaints and along with particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide is one of the three major causes of pollution-related deaths.”
Ahem….well, he really means is:
“The three major contributors to pollution-related shortening of life are assumed, based on models of generation, feeding models of dispersion, feeding models of concentration, feeding models of exposure, feeding models and assumptions about disease consequence, feeding models and assumptions about the shortening of lives of those who already died before the age of 86, but never assumed to be a cause of extending lives of those who lived beyond 86, to be ozone, PM (meaning PM2.5) and NO2. And it is further assumed to have contributed to the shortening of the lives of those already dead, and therefore by projection, the premature death of those now living even though those now living will experience a completely different disease and inoculation history, eat a different and better diet, live in better housing, work in safer factories and fields, drink better water and bathe more frequently, have more education and better medical care.”
Which is to say, “We cannot point to anyone who died from ‘pollution’ from these three sources – those deaths are assumed to be ‘out there’ somewhere in the real world.”
The root of these unsupportable claims about pollutants is the changing of the allocation of ‘contributing causes’ to the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) turning ‘premature deaths’ from ‘contributions to premature death’ (which is a statistic that applies to a whole population) into ’causes of death’ using questionable statistical means created by the Gates Foundation and the IHME exercise. http://ghdx.healthdata.org/ihme_data
Note: That site claims to provide “data”. It does not contain any data. It provides the results “visualized by the tool” which gets inputs from that string of models listed above. Basically they claim something like this: if 1720 people’s lives were each shortened by 6 months by exposure to ozone, it is the same as 10 people dying from it (86 person-years each). It turns ‘dying early’ into a ’cause of death’.

February 26, 2018 1:02 pm

Just as one would expect from ‘researchers’ at York – conclusions phrased to undermine fracking.
Yorkshire lies over a huge shale gas field, the development of which is being hindered at every turn by enviromental activists and their fellow travellers. They have a total disregard of the desperate national need to unlock this new source of wealth, which will also create a whole new industry and improve our energy security.

Reply to  Old'un
February 27, 2018 7:50 am

Indeed I monitor the regional paper’s daily antifracking campaign
And indeed they have hyped this paper today :
The context, in UK the fracking projects are in the setup stage, with actual fracking due within months, but forces are throwing everything they can at to thwart it.
The gov says it supports it, but the gov is pathetic, so we have already brought in liquid natural gas from the Russian Artic.
UK mad energy policy favours only Putin and GreenBlob mafia.

February 26, 2018 1:38 pm

So, when these hydrocarbons in the air get sucked into a boiler, or a vehicles combustion air intake, wouldn’t they be burned resulting in CO2 and H2O and energy, the same as the hydrocarbons in the fuel tank, thus removing the hydrocarbons from the air?

February 26, 2018 1:54 pm

” These hydrocarbons are particularly harmful in large cities where, through chemical reactions with emissions from cars, they form ozone ”
Absolute BS. Please document the chemical reaction(s) that hydrocarbons undergo to create O3 (i.e. ozone).

Reply to  jimkress35
February 26, 2018 2:43 pm

Documentation started in 1952:
A.J. Haagen-Smith was nonimated for the Nobel prize for this.
Confirmed again and again.

Reply to  rd50
February 26, 2018 3:12 pm

The paper you referenced and the other work by Smit and Fox DO NOT provide any chemical network illustrations that show how O3 is produced by hydrocarbons. They do a lot of hand waving but provide no mechanism(s)..
If I had submitted the work Smit and Fox for my PhD Dissertation, I would have been laughed out of the room. Their work appears to be the beginning of the perversion of the accurate chemical term Ozone (O3) into a scarier version of the real chemical environment, i.e. SMOG.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  rd50
February 27, 2018 6:00 pm

Hydro-chloro-fluoro-carbons, not hydrocarbons.

Reply to  jimkress35
February 26, 2018 3:27 pm

To jimkress35.
Obviously ozone is not produced from hydrocarbons. It takes a little bit more: NOx and Sunlight!

Steve Zell
February 26, 2018 2:13 pm

So, ethane gets up to about 3,000 parts per trillion (ppt) = 0.003 ppm during the winter, and propane gets up to about 2,000 ppt (0.002 ppm), compared to 400 ppm of CO2 and 1.8 ppm of methane. Why should we worry about ethane or propane when there is 900 times more methane and 200,000 times more CO2 in the air than propane?
Oh, by the way, some activists are trying to ban the use of hydrofluorocarbons as refrigerants, claiming that they destroy the ozone layer, although their effect is much less than that of chlorofluorocarbons. They want to substitute the use of…propane. Propane leaks from refrigerators might increase that 0.002 ppm in the atmosphere quite a bit, but even worse, a propane leak into a confined space behind a refrigerator, combined with an electric spark, could cause quite a few kitchen fires, while the HFC refrigerants are not flammable.

Reply to  Steve Zell
February 26, 2018 7:18 pm

Best greenhouse gas= water
Ban water!

Reply to  Steve Zell
February 27, 2018 8:33 am

Actually, propane is a very good refrigerant, better than hydrofluorocarbons,
I don’t know enough of the case, but I think it should never had been banned in the first place. Let the market decide how it can handdle those hazard, if any.

Dave Kelly
February 26, 2018 4:22 pm

Hmmm… I see a potential problem with this study.
I’m looking at the world graphs B and C. The small circles on the maps APPEAR to be the location of the sampling sites…. although this is NOT explicitly stated on the graphs. The number of apparent sampling sites is higher than the “20 observatories world wide” stated in the article above, but one would assume a single “observatory” would have more than one sampling site.
Here’s my problem. The bulk of the “increase” appears in Russia. Yet I see no sampling sites in the interior where the bulk the “excessive” Russian emissions are supposed be coming from. Indeed the only potential Russian sampling site appears to be located near the Chinese’s/Russian border in the far Pacific West. And since this is, potentially, a Chinese site I’m not too keen on assuming Chinese/Russian relations aren’t tame enough for the Chinese to “enhance” results that could be blamed on the Russian’s. To the East of Russia appear to be a passel of sampling sites in Europe. Yet, based on the color coding for the individual sites, no appreciable increase is readily apparent.
So to the meat of the problem. Why should I be confident in study in which the bulk of its claimed emissions increases come from vast areas which were not actually sampled?
I see a similar problem with the alleged increase in the United States. Although there are more samples in the interior of the United States, close examination of the color code of the sampling circles in the “Baseline” and “ALT 1” figures show no appreciable difference… yet the graph shows an regional wide increase in ethane and propane emissions.
I suspect we have another “modeling” debacle in which an “increase” is inferred without actual evidence.
I certainly wouldn’t want to be the U.S. or European diplomat confronting a Russian diplomat to complain about Russia’s “emissions problems” on the basis of this “evidence”. I’d be concerned, the Russian’s would be indigent. And quite properly so.
I don’t have copy of the study. So, it is possible I’m in error. If in error, perhaps someone with a copy could enlighten me.

Dave Kelly
Reply to  Dave Kelly
February 26, 2018 4:33 pm

Ahh Damn… corrections to my text above.
The Pacific lies to Russia’s and China’s East not it’s West, so my term “Pacific West” should read “Pacific East”. So I should have stated: “Indeed the only potential Russian sampling site appears to be located near the Chinese’s/Russian border in the far Pacific East.”
Likewise Europe is to the “West” of Russia not to Russia’s “East”. So I should have stated: “To the West of Russia appear to be a passel of sampling sites in Europe.”
Was thinking relative of my location, not Russia’s.

Derek Colman
February 26, 2018 5:03 pm

“Worse than we thought” is the new black. I blame the modern refillable lighters. It used to be possible to refill them without losing any gas, but the quality has declined. Now when you refill one more gas escapes than goes into the lighter. Not only are smokers killing us with secondhand smoke, they are killing the planet.

Philip Schaeffer
February 26, 2018 6:03 pm

Anthony, what study are you talking about? I see nothing named, and no link provided.
I also fail to see how any of this equates to blaming Russia. Perhaps you could explain how you equate this to “blaming Russia’?
If activities in certain places are indeed emitting more ethane and propane than expected, then it is good to know, isn’t it?

February 27, 2018 12:10 am

Basically, it seems they have discovered that empirical measurements do not verify their models. The fantasy of ‘greenhouse gases’ remains unquestioned.

Ancient Scouse
February 27, 2018 5:08 am

A few centuries ago you could make a living as a Dragon Slayer. If you found employment in this role you would be expected to slay Dragons and this you did. Dragon Slaying was a fearful business and only the very brave could accomplish this task. Hence once employed you would be left to get on with your fear laden business. The fact that Dragons never have existed made your task a little less stressful but you needed to keep up appearances so you would be expected to tell all who would listen how you hunted and slew this dreadful beast. Those who listened could “dine out” retelling the tales of the brave Dragon Slayer, while encouraging everyone to ensure that the Dragon Slayer fund was kept “Topped Up” so that a Dragon Slayer would always be available to ensure their safety.
Today we have Climate Scientists and the Media, between them they do the same job as the Dragon Slayer of yesteryear but with a lot less dignity.

February 27, 2018 8:00 am

Then where is the warming those “more than we thought” GHG are supposed to have produced?
“These hydrocarbons are particularly harmful in large cities where, through chemical reactions with emissions from cars, they form ozone – a greenhouse gas which is a key component of smog and directly linked to increases in mortality.”
yet another lie. While it is true that, “through chemical reactions with emissions from cars, they form ozone”, if they were not there, some other chemical reactions would form ozone out of NOx (emissions from cars) anyway. To curb O3, you need to curb NOx; curbing hydrocarbons is just useless for this purpose.

February 27, 2018 2:29 pm
February 27, 2018 3:37 pm

makes extra obsevations
One of the authors Ally Lewis has a rather hyperbolic video
The Air We Breathe https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llqfd-0qw1Q
– “Tens of billions of pounds/year NHS health impacts”
(total NHS budget is £120bn/year..smoking, obesity, diabetes, cancer could well be of that magnitude, but in the grand scheme air quality these days would not seem to in the same ballpark)
– A further bunch of self serving untruths are trivially chucked in to what looks like a public lecture.
– I get the distinct feeling that they will talk anything up to get funding – something that’s abundantly obvious after a short wander through other departmental research.
And indeed the trendy plate glass university of York does seem like a little uni desperate to overstate themselves
Website self promoting strapline.
“one of the world’s premier institutions for inspirational and life-changing research.”
– I don’t have a good feeling about that
– Why do they feel the need to do this stuff? – is it insecurity or something?
Ah… UofY “innovation” firsts include a 5 year social science course….
– As an aside I see that report author Lucy Carpenter’s home page displays an endorsement by The Guardian for being the 2nd ranked chemistry department in the UK.

February 27, 2018 3:51 pm

The newspaper claims : ‘ozone in countryside harms crops’ …first I’ve heard of this.
And their premise is that manmade NOx mixes with local methane from fracking leaks etc. to make ozone
but of course decaying vegetation and manure emit methane
..and far from being afraid of them farmers actually put compost/manure on their fields.

Reply to  stewgreen
February 27, 2018 6:31 pm
February 28, 2018 2:58 am

Fortunately the planet is witnessing a strong uptake in renewables, especially solar – in which China is leading the way. As prices come down and new materials like Perovskite come to market, the days for fossil fuels providing most of the world’s energy – and, as such CO2 emissions – are looking increasingly numbered. Renewables are making up a growing proportion of the energy mix year-on-year. https://mankindsdegradationofplanetearth.com/2018/02/28/after-the-sunrush-what-comes-next-for-solar-power/

Philip Schaeffer
March 3, 2018 10:11 pm

Hey moderators, seriously, can we have a link to the study in question, or at least be told it’s name. I want to look it up and read what is says for myself.

Philip Schaeffer
March 7, 2018 4:57 am

What, so that’s how things work here now?? No link, no naming of the study so people could look it up for themselves. Not even any response from the moderators when people ask, “what study?”
Good luck with that if you want to make a difference that matters.

Reply to  Anthony Watts
March 7, 2018 5:52 pm

Nothing on this site matters.

Philip Schaeffer
Reply to  Anthony Watts
March 7, 2018 11:14 pm

Well, please forgive my skepticism after not getting any response for over a week from someone who has told me previously to go look it up for myself when I asked for a link to a study you used in one of your articles.
“Be sure to scrutinize both of them with a fine tooth comb so you can play “gotcha”, like you like to do.”
The article seems quite reasonable. I’m glad you published it. The only issue I have….
“Maybe you can even gripe about the title.”
Well, if this article really is from the “blame Russia” department, perhaps you can explain how you characterize it as blaming Russia? Seems to me to be a cheap and unnecessary politicization of a reasonable study.
I’d actually like to hear that answer, but this is where you usually say that the argument is over and you don’t have to justify anything because it’s your site, and I can go away any time I like.
Well, I can’t make you explain, but I wish you would.

Philip Schaeffer
March 12, 2018 9:36 pm

“You CAN go look it up yourself.”
Well, that would have been a lot easier if you actually told us the name of the study!

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