PerspectiveAtmospheric Science

Methane on the Rise—Again

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Science  31 Jan 2014:
Vol. 343, Issue 6170, pp. 493-495
DOI: 10.1126/science.1247828

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Roughly one-fifth of the increase in radiative forcing by human-linked greenhouse gases since 1750 is due to methane. The past three decades have seen prolonged periods of increasing atmospheric methane, but the growth rate slowed in the 1990s (1), and from 1999 to 2006, the methane burden (that is, the total amount of methane in the air) was nearly constant. Yet strong growth resumed in 2007. The reasons for these observed changes remain poorly understood because of limited knowledge of what controls the global methane budget (2).