Tropical Degassing

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Science  13 May 2005:
Vol. 308, Issue 5724, pp. 921
DOI: 10.1126/science.308.5724.921j

Methane is the second most important trace greenhouse gas, accounting for 20% of their collective absorption of solar radiation, but its sources and sinks are not well understood. Frankenberg et al. (p. 1010, published online 17 March 2005) present results from SCIAMACHY, an instrument onboard the ENVISAT satellite, which reveal the global distribution of tropo spheric methane. Methane concentrations are unexpectedly high over terrestrial tropical regions, indicating that it is produced in amounts much greater than previously had been assumed. This discovery could help reconcile the disagreement between various estimates of the global methane budget.

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