Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene
New article in "Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene" by Brett Thornton et al.
Global bottom-up and top-down estimates of natural, geologic methane (CH4) emissions (average approximately 45 Tg yr–1) have recently been questioned by near-zero (approximately 1.6 Tg yr–1) estimates based on measurements of 14CH4 trapped in ice cores, which imply that current fossil fuel industries’ CH4 emissions are underestimated by 25%–40%. As we show here, such a global near-zero geologic CH4 emission estimate is incompatible with multiple independent, bottom-up emission estimates from individual natural geologic seepage areas, each of which is of the order of 0.1–3 Tg yr–1. Further research is urgently needed to resolve the conundrum before rejecting either method or associated emission estimates in global CH4 accounting.
Thornton, B.F., Etiope, G., Schwietzke, S., Milkov, A.V., Klusman, R.W., Judd, A., Oehler, D.Z., 2021. Conflicting estimates of natural geologic methane emissions. Elementa: Science of Anthropocene 9(1).
Last updated: November 23, 2021
Source: Department of Geological Sciences