Environment

Satellites detail continued rise of atmospheric methane and CO2

Satellites detail continued ri...
The collected data shows a steady increase in carbon dioxide and methane
The collected data shows a steady increase in carbon dioxide and methane
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The collected data shows a steady increase in carbon dioxide and methane
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The collected data shows a steady increase in carbon dioxide and methane
The Sentinel-5P mission, set to launch this year, will scan the atmosphere for the whole globe once every day
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The Sentinel-5P mission, set to launch this year, will scan the atmosphere for the whole globe once every day

According to research conducted by the European Space Agency (ESA), atmospheric methane and carbon dioxide levels are continuing to rise, despite global efforts to lower emissions. The data was gathered by the European Space Agency's (ESA) long-serving Envisat probe, combined with readings from Japan's GoSat mission.

The readings show that while methane levels in the atmosphere were fairly constant up until 2007, but they've been increasingly steadily since then, at a rate of 0.3 percent per year. Similarly, global carbon dioxide levels are on the up, increasing by around 0.5 percent a year.

As to what's causing the increase – scientists are yet to fully understand exactly what's going on, but it's likely that fossil fuel emissions and agriculture are playing a big part. Seasonal fluctuations can be seen in the data, including higher methane concentrations from China and India in August and September. Those regional changes make sense, with emissions from rice paddies and wetlands known to increase under warm, humid conditions.

Carbon dioxide levels have been steadily increasing over the last 10 years, with plants only capable of taking up some 25 percent of human emissions. It's not known how the planet's vegetation will respond to the changing climate – it's something that future missions will help us understand, improving our ability to predict future climate trends.

The Sentinel-5P mission, set to launch this year, will scan the atmosphere for the whole globe once every day
The Sentinel-5P mission, set to launch this year, will scan the atmosphere for the whole globe once every day

The Sentinel-5P mission, set to launch this year, will play a big role in this, scanning global atmosphere once every day. The resulting data will allow us to more easily pick out key regional carbon dioxide and methane sources.

"For the future, Sentinel-5P will be very important, in particular because of its very dense, high-resolution observations of atmospheric methane, which have the potential to detect and quantify the emissions of important methane emissions hot spots such as oil and gas fields," said the ESA's Climate Change Initiative project leader Michael Buchwitz.

The results of the research were presented last week at the Living Planet Symposium in Prague.

Source: ESA

7 comments
Tim Triplett
Is someone cooking the books again this time or is "this data" real? Who can trust any "data" on so called global warming, climate change, climate disruption or whatever new thing they are claiming now? Seems if you change the name often you can confuse enough people to keep the game afoot and the sheep will follow no matter what.
Kaiser Derden
what changing climate ? you mean the natural climate change that plants are well adapted to ? that climate change ? because they haven't had to deal with rising temperatures in 20 years "despite" all the methane and CO2 increases ...
watersworm
"It's not known how the planet's vegetation will respond to the changing climate" ??? SO, what about a recent article (april 2016) in the peer reviewed journal Nature (Climate Change) that showed a globally 25 to 30% greener Planet for the last 30 years, except for the dryest parts of the Earth. It is a scientific fact that CO2 enhances food production. Is that bad news ?
Mel Tisdale
There is a growing body of scientific opinion that takes the view that we are in a period of abrupt climate change and are already in the sixth great extinction and that we humans, like so much of the flora and fauna that make planet earth as beautiful as it is, or rather 'as it was', will soon be extinct ourselves. (They are talking in terms of a decade or two, three if we are lucky). Rather than calling for more research funding that is so often advanced in support of the "It's all a hoax" meme, they are advising us to enjoy ourselves while we can because conditions are soon going to be unbearable. We cannot claim that we have not been warned, and after reading other comments here, we cannot say that we don't deserve what is coming down the pike, picking up speed as she does so. I feel sorry for my son, but very pleased that I am of an age where I can look back and say my life has mostly been good (by that I mean that I have had fun, not that my behaviour has been good, far from it in fact!).
If I were of the age that I suspect that most, if not all, of my fellow commenters are, I would be looking to string up all those who have done so much to stop us fighting climate change. And for what? a few lousy pieces of silver. Old men who have not grown up yet. It is all very sad when you look at it dispassionately. We could have beaten it, but didn't even try. How ashamed our forebears must be of us, especially those who fought far bigger battles in WW1 and WW2. We just ran away.
Robert in Vancouver
Global warming hucksters are getting desperate. They have been getting rich by scaring gullible people into donating money to stop global warming. (Al Gore and his carbon trading scam partners at Goldman Sachs are so thankful.) But the facts show there is no global warming even though CO2 in the atmosphere has been much higher than their scariest predictions.
Scion
Here are some answers for the questions, assumptions and inaccuracies in the above comments: 1. @Tim Triplett: This data is real. I and every rational thinking person can trust it. 2. @Tim Triplett: The names you've mentioned all reference the same thing and are not an attempt to disguise or hide anything. Global warming is what is happening globally. It is changing the climate and those changes are in many cases considered disruptions. It is simple English comprehension as taught in school. Just like they teach science at school. I think you are the only confused one. 3. @Kaiser Derden: The climate of the Earth is what is changing. Plants are not well adapted to the unnaturally fast climate change happening right now. The current speed of climate change will work as a natural selection mechanism selecting for plants that find themselves in an environment where they do better than their peers. 4. @Kaiser Derden: 2005, 2010, 2014, 2015 are all hotter than 1998. So I'm not sure where your 20 years of no change comes from. You either believe the data sets or you ignore them. You can't get away with saying 1998 was correct and every one since is false. 5. @watersworm: It is not known how the planets vegetation will respond because change of this pace has not occurred before outside of catastrophic volcanic activity or asteroid impact. Greater food production is regardless of the fact that climate is changing and we don't really know what this will do. 6. @Mel Tisdale: The three academics I can find who mention the possibility of human extinction talk about unchecked, run-away warming. It would be reasonable to expect that this will not occur. Already we are curbing our emissions and even warming sceptics tend to agree that increasing our efficiency in all areas will benefit humans. 7. @Robbo: I'm not sure who is "getting rich" from global warming such that it seems more likely that it is a hoax than not. Certainly the largest, richest and most powerful companies on the planet all stand to lose out with global warming. As for the "no global warming" being supported by facts I think I would like to see your satellites, ground stations, ice cores and physics that produce those facts. Every scientific body on the planet capable of doing so has concluded that global warming is happening and is happening in conjunction and because of an increase in CO2. The science is simple: CO2 holds heat. We are putting more CO2 into the atmosphere. The atmosphere is getting hotter. Measurements support this. Other observations regarding plant life, coral bleaching, migration patterns, sea level changes, ice coverage and shifting weather patterns all support this. This is why the "debate" is "shut down" it is because there is no debate. Everything points to global warming. All measurements indicate global warming. All observations are explained nicely by global warming. The vector of this global warming is caused by humans (the production of CO2). Feel free to stick your fingers in your ears and shout "hoax, hoax, hoax" but that doesn't change a single thing.
Road tar
Completely agree with Mel's post. The industrialists and wealthy do not give 2 hoots about the destruction. They have successfully conned the ignoranti into somehow believing increased CO2 levels do not cause greater warming of the biosphere. I just love the "well increased CO2 levels are happening, but we don't know if it is caused by humans, so let us not do anything until we are sure". Using this type of "logic", I guess if there is a leak in my boat I need to determine whether it was caused by a rock or iceberg BEFORE I work to supress the leak. Apparently spewing 90X the amount of CO2 as volcanoes do into the atmosphere is not convincing enough.