Sunday, August 11, 2013

Dramatic rise in methane levels since end July 2013

There has been a dramatic rise in methane levels since end July 2013. The image below pictures methane levels above 1950 ppb on the Northern Hemisphere from 12 p.m. August 9, 2013, to 12 a.m. August 10, 2013.

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Quite suddenly, readings above 1950 ppb have become commonplace since July 31, 2013.

The chart below illustrates the dramatic jump in methane levels that occurred since July 31, 2013. The chart shows the area (square km) with methane readings over 1950 ppb for selected layers, over the period from July 24, 2013, to August 9, 2013. The chart further below shows that peak methane levels have increased dramatically.

Particularly worrying are high levels of methane over the Arctic Ocean, such as on the image below showing methane levels over 1950 ppb in yellow for selected layers on August 5, 2013 (a.m.).
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Methane levels are also very high on the Southern Hemisphere, as illustrated by the image below on the right. High readings have featured over the heights of Antarctica for quite some time, but the high levels of methane over the oceans on the Southern Hemisphere have only shown up recently. They could be caused by one or more methane hydrates getting destabilized in the ocean between Antarctica and South America.
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Peter Carter sent the image below, edited from NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, showing high (and rising) methane levels in Pallas Sammaltunturi (north Scandinavia), measured with surface flasks.

Peter also added the image below, pointing at high methane levels in Lac La Biche, Northern Alberta, Canada. What to make of it?, Peter adds, It is not far from the Tar Sands - that does have a methane problem, but it is basically wetland peat region vicinity which is why I checked it.

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