Rising methane: A New Climate Challenge

While the scientific community continues to debate the causes of the CH4 surge, the consequences are clear. The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) emission scenarios that limit warming to 1.5°C assume that the amount of CH4 in the atmosphere will decrease by 35% between 2010 and 2050.

Yet, between 2007 and 2014, the amount has risen by an average of 5.7 parts per billion (ppb) per year, and by an average of 9.7 ppb per year since 2014. If this rise continues unabated, cuts to carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases will need to be even steeper to achieve the Paris goal.

The research article authored by Sara E. Mikaloff Fletcher, and Hinrich Schaefer frm the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), Greta Point, Wellington, New Zealand advocates close integration between atmospheric observations, process-based studies, and policy to provide meaningful answers about the real emission reductions needed to meet the climate goals of the Paris Agreement. 

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