methane

Jeffrey Chanton

Florida State University, John Widmer Winchester Professor of Oceanography, Department of Oceanography

Robert Howarth

Cornell University, David R Atkinson Professor in Ecology & Environmental Biology

Edward Brook

Oregon State University, Professor, Department of Geosciences

December 6, 2012

Fossil fuels: reduce, reduce, reduce

Robert Howarth

photo: Leaflet

For the first two decades after it is released into the atmosphere, methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than CO2. In assessing impacts of hydraulic fracturing, Bob Howarth (2000) says attention should be paid to the methane released when this drilling method is used to extract natural gas. In pursuing future energy sources, he stresses the need to move away from fossil fuels, including natural gas, and toward renewable fuels such as solar and wind power. "We should focus on reducing the use of fossil fuels, not finding more of them," he says.

June 8, 2012

Methane release: another call for attention from the Arctic

Jeffrey Chanton

photo: A methane-induced melt-hole in
Alaska (credit: Katey Walter Anthony)

A research team including Jeff Chanton (2005) has documented evidence of widespread release of "ancient" geologic methane, a different type from "younger" methane released when frozen organic material decomposes. The team found that this "ancient" methane comes from coal beds or natural gas deposits deep underground, which scientists previously thought would be permanently trapped under frozen soils and glaciers. Given the vast amount of this trapped ancient methane, the escape of even a small fraction of it could have a significant climate warming impact as a powerful greenhouse gas, the team says.

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