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Journal Articles Nature Geoscience Year : 2013

Three decades of global methane sources and sinks

1 CEA - Commissariat à l'énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives
2 LSCE - Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement [Gif-sur-Yvette]
3 SATINV - Modélisation INVerse pour les mesures atmosphériques et SATellitaires
5 Global Carbon Project
6 NOAA - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
7 IES - JRC Institute for Environment and Sustainability
8 LLNL - Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
9 UC Irvine - University of California [Irvine]
10 University of Naples Federico II = Università degli studi di Napoli Federico II
11 Euro–Mediterranean Center for Climate Change
12 School of GeoSciences
13 MPI-BGC - Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry
14 Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL
15 SRON - SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research
16 Universiteit Utrecht / Utrecht University [Utrecht]
17 DIRSE - Météo-France Direction Interrégionale Sud-Est
18 CSIRO - Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation [Canberra]
19 NCAR - National Center for Atmospheric Research [Boulder]
20 Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
21 UCAR - University Corporation for Atmospheric Research
22 University of Bristol [Bristol]
24 CCCma - Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis
25 MIT - Massachusetts Institute of Technology
26 VU - Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam [Amsterdam]
27 GSFC - NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
28 UNIBE - Universität Bern / University of Bern
29 USRA - Universities Space Research Association [Washington]
30 Graduate School of Environmental Studies [Nagoya]
31 CLIM - Modélisation du climat
32 Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences
33 Imperial College London
34 KNMI - Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute
35 SIO - UC San Diego - Scripps Institution of Oceanography
36 NIWA - National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research [Wellington]
Liang Feng
  • Function : Author


Methane is an important greenhouse gas, responsible for about 20% of the warming induced by long-lived greenhouse gases since pre-industrial times. By reacting with hydroxyl radicals, methane reduces the oxidizing capacity of the atmosphere and generates ozone in the troposphere. Although most sources and sinks of methane have been identified, their relative contributions to atmospheric methane levels are highly uncertain. As such, the factors responsible for the observed stabilization of atmospheric methane levels in the early 2000s, and the renewed rise after 2006, remain unclear. Here, we construct decadal budgets for methane sources and sinks between 1980 and 2010, using a combination of atmospheric measurements and results from chemical transport models, ecosystem models, climate chemistry models and inventories of anthropogenic emissions. The resultant budgets suggest that data-driven approaches and ecosystem models overestimate total natural emissions. We build three contrasting emission scenarios — which differ in fossil fuel and microbial emissions — to explain the decadal variability in atmospheric methane levels detected, here and in previous studies, since 1985. Although uncertainties in emission trends do not allow definitive conclusions to be drawn, we show that the observed stabilization of methane levels between 1999 and 2006 can potentially be explained by decreasing-to-stable fossil fuel emissions, combined with stable-to-increasing microbial emissions. We show that a rise in natural wetland emissions and fossil fuel emissions probably accounts for the renewed increase in global methane levels after 2006, although the relative contribution of these two sources remains uncertain.
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Dates and versions

hal-02651757 , version 1 (07-06-2023)




Stefanie Kirschke, Philippe Bousquet, Philippe Ciais, Marielle Saunois, Josep G. Canadell, et al.. Three decades of global methane sources and sinks. Nature Geoscience, 2013, 6 (10), pp.813-823. ⟨10.1038/ngeo1955⟩. ⟨hal-02651757⟩
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