Fifty-Three Experts Weigh in on the Global Methane Budget

June 26, 2024

A recent study involving our Hutchinson postdocs from Theme II: Climate and Greenhouse Gases, along with YIBS faculty affiliates Noah Planavsky and Peter Raymond, sheds new light on the uncertainties in global methane emissions estimates. Published in Earth’s Future, the research reveals that significant uncertainties in methane data arise from sources such as fresh water, vegetation, and coastal areas.

The Global Methane Budget (GMB), established in 2016 and updated in 2020, aims to track trends in methane emissions from both anthropogenic and natural sources. By surveying 53 methane experts, Rosentreter et al. highlighted the varying degrees of uncertainty and confidence in current methane data. The study found the highest uncertainty in the GMB’s “other natural sources” category, which includes emissions from wetlands and coastal areas.

Experts also indicated that methane’s role in global warming could increase by 2050, with more than 76% of emissions being fully or partially human-induced. To reduce uncertainties, the authors suggest further research into permafrost thaw and expanding methane observation networks in under-monitored regions.

For more information, click here to read the full article on Eos or here for the full study in Earth’s Future.

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