Methane

Carbon dioxide is not the only GHGs increasing in its stratospheric level. Methane is also increasing in concentration. Methane is considered as an important greenhouse gas. It is believed to be the second most powerful greenhouse gas (excluding water vapour), and its concentration in the stratosphere affects the Earth's heat balance, and thus temperature. Methane

Major research findings have pointed to changes in climate temperature, including widespread melting of snow and ice and rising global mean sea level. Mountain glaciers, snow cover, and Arctic sea ice levels have also fallen.

is a natural gas with a chemical compound consisting of one carbon and four hydrogen atoms bonded covalently together, the simplest alkane, relatively abundant and gaseous at normal temperature and pressure. The Earth's crust contains huge amounts of the gas, produced anaerobically by biomethanation, and also released to the atmosphere by mud volcanoes. It is colorless and odorless, a major component of fossil fuel, about 97 percent by composition, having different uses ranging from industry, power generation, to manufacturing processes. Apart from it being a major component of natural gas, it is obtained from the anaerobic digestion of organic matter, manure, sewage, and solid and biodegradable wastes.

In the Earth's atmosphere, it adds to global climate alteration. Although not as stable as CO2, having a stability period of 10 years, it is however, 100 times stronger than CO2 in its greenhouse effect. A ton of methane is reported to have 25 times the temperature effect of the same size of CO2 on the environment after every 100 years, and accounts for 20 percent of the total radiative forcing of all the combined GHGs. However, the cumulative effect of CO2 is more than that of methane because of the enormous amount of it present in the atmosphere, with methane having a large effect on the environment over a short period of 10 years in comparison to the small effect of CO2 over a longer period of over 100 years. The effects of methane include the absorption of infrared radiation, affecting the troposheric and stratospheric ozone (O3).

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