Global estimates and conclusions

Based on Equations 1-4 (pages 104-105), a number of investigators have calculated the global production of CH4 due to biomass burning. Several of these studies are summarized in Table 7.8. Inspection of Table 7.8 indicates that estimates for the global annual production of CH4 from biomass burning ranges from about 11 to 80Tg CH4 yr-1, accounting for between 2 per cent and 14 per cent of the global CH4 emissions each year (assuming a total global annual production of 582Tg CH4 yr-1 (IPCC, 2007). As stated earlier, the warmer and drier conditions projected for many areas as a result of climate change in the 21st century may result in enhanced fire frequency, intensity and area of burning. All else being equal, this may therefore result in a significant increase in global emissions of both CH4 and CO2 from biomass burning in coming decades.

Table 7.8 Production of methane by biomass burning: Global estimates

Methane emissions in Tg CH4 yr-1 (range of estimate)



Crutzen and Andreae ('990)


Andreae ('99')

51.9 (27-80)

Levine et al (2000)


Andreae and Merlet (200')

50 (27-80)

Wuebbles and Hayhoe (2002)


Hoelzemann et al (2004)


Ito and Penner (2004)

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