Climate Forcing Methane

Arctic (33)

Referring to my previous posts about methane and its impacts on climate change and the environment;

Methane Release Poses Climate Risks

Climate Amplifier Methane

Methane is an Environmental Wildcard

methane is a powerful greenhouse gas which can be found naturally all around our planet. In addition, most human activities produce and release the invisible, odorless and tasteless greenhouse gas methane into Earth´s atmosphere, drastically increasing the greenhouse effect that is warming up our planet. The amount of methane in Earth´s atmosphere has never been as high as in the past 150 years, and this is due to industrialization.

The vast majority of anthropogenic methane release into Earth´s atmosphere is caused through agriculture and oil/gas production. Agriculture and animal farming, especially enteric fermentation, account directly for at least 50 per cent of all methane emissions (see figure below), followed by oil and gas with 20 per cent. Decreasing anthropogenic methane emissions through innovative and sustainable practices is thus necessary in order to stop our Earth´s climate from warming due to human activities. This can be accomplished through 1) improving and making current practices more efficient; 2) reducing/minimizing the usage of fossil fuels as energy sources 3) transforming agricultural and farming practices.

chart (1)

When greenhouse gas emissions constantly increase in Earth´s atmosphere, these warm the climate especially fast in the Arctic region, which acts as a natural refrigerator on our planet. With a rapidly warming Arctic region (and, a warming Antarctica), more and more methane is being released into Earth´s atmosphere, accelerating the warming of Earth everywhere, not only in the Polar regions. Exactly how strongly additional methane and other greenhouse gas emissions will affect the warming of the Arctic (and, the whole world), is not known. Methane is being referred to as a climate amplifier and an environmental wild card since the increase of this powerful greenhouse gas in Earth´s atmosphere can present us with sudden and unexpected changes in our planet´s climate system. This is why methane emissions have to be investigated and studied carefully, and caution must be taken in its additional production.

According to the Global Methane Initiative (GMI), reducing the amount of methane release in all sectors involved leads to many benefits, including better protection of the environment, overall health factors, workplace safety where concerned, less pollution and cleaner air.

Learn more about climatic forcings by watching Middlebury Environmental Geology´s video “Climatic forcings and feedbacks (class 21-v2):


Connect with me on Twitter @annemariayritys. For climate/environment-related posts only @GCCThinkActTank. Subscribe to Leading With Passion to receive my latest posts.


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