Increasing anthropogenic methane emissions arise equally from agricultural and fossil fuel sources. Which has increased global methane levels. Methane “is one of the most important greenhouse gases — arguably the second most important after CO2,” says Alexander Turner, an atmospheric scientist who will join the University of Washington in Seattle in 2021. It is important to tackle all sources of methane emissions arising from human activity, but there are reasons to focus on emissions from oil and gas operations. First, although emissions also come from coal and bioenergy, oil and gas operations are likely the largest source … Especially the worldwide expansion of paddy rice cultivation, livestock production and fossil fuel exploration have increased the methane concentration in the atmosphere. “If anything, it’s possibly speeding up.” By the end of 2019, the methane concentration in the atmosphere reached about 1,875 parts per billion — up from about 1,857 parts per billion in 2017, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Emissions of the heat-trapping gas methane are rising all over the world, mostly due to agriculture and fossil fuel use. 1719 N Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036, Mineral body armor helps some leaf-cutting ants win fights with bigger kin, A face mask may turn up a male wrinkle-faced bat’s sex appeal, Lonely brains crave people like hungry brains crave food, Coronavirus shutdowns don’t need to be all or nothing, The FDA has approved the first drug to treat the rapid-aging disease progeria, Immunity to COVID-19 may persist six months or more, Plastics are showing up in the world’s most remote places, including Mount Everest, 50 years ago, scientists named Earth’s magnetic field as a suspect in extinctions, Technology and natural hazards clash to create ‘natech’ disasters, Arecibo Observatory, an ‘icon of Puerto Rican science,’ will be demolished, Farming on Mars will be a lot harder than ‘The Martian’ made it seem, Planets with many neighbors may be the best places to look for life, Newton’s groundbreaking Principia may have been more popular than previously thought, Supercooled water has been caught morphing between two forms, Giant lasers help re-create supernovas’ explosive, mysterious physics, about 40 million metric tons more methane from human activities, has not bled much methane into the atmosphere, the methane concentration in the atmosphere, Increasing anthropogenic methane emissions arise equally from agricultural and fossil fuel sources, Fossil fuel use may emit 40 percent more methane than we thought, Getting creative to cut methane from cows, 50 years ago, scientists suspected microbes flourished in clouds, STEVE may be even less like typical auroras than scientists thought, Once hurricanes make landfall, they’re lingering longer and staying stronger, With Theta, 2020 sets the record for most named Atlantic storms, How frigid lizards falling from trees revealed the reptiles’ growing cold tolerance. Published online July 14, 2020. doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/ab9ed2. Subscribers, enter your e-mail address to access the Science News archives. Questions or comments on this article? Now, a global inventory of methane sources reveals the major culprits behind rising methane pollution in the 21st century. Agricultural sources, such as cattle ranches and paddy fields, were responsible for a 10-million-ton rise in emissions from South Asia and Oceania and a surge almost as big in Africa, the authors estimate. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by e-mail. Agriculture and fossil fuel use were the major drivers behind increasing human emissions. A version of this article appears in the August 15, 2020 issue of Science News. E-mail us at [email protected] Expanding agriculture dominated methane release in places like Africa, South Asia and Oceania, while increasing fossil fuel use heightened emissions in China and the United States, researchers report online July 14 in Environmental Research Letters. Maria Temming is the staff reporter for physical sciences, covering everything from chemistry to computer science and cosmology. Human activities responsible for more methane emissions than thought Emissions pinned on natural sources are probably our fault instead. Emissions swelled by 5 to 10 million tons in China and North America, where fossil fuels drove pollution. Scott K. Johnson - Feb 20, 2020 6:14 pm UTC Emissions from natural sources like wetlands, on the other hand, held relatively steady. All rights reserved. The team compared the 2017 observations with average annual emissions from 2000 to 2006. It is published by Society for Science & the Public, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) membership organization dedicated to public engagement in scientific research and education.