The AGGI data noted in the item above shows that methane, a more powerful but shorter-lived greenhouse gas compared to carbon dioxide, has rapidly increased during the past 5 years, Andrew reports.
The rate of methane increase has jumped 50% since 2007–2013, NOAA says.
The intrigue: Scientists have been trying to explain this increase. Experts tell Axios it's clear the long-term growth in methane concentrations is related to human activities, from cattle farming to gas drilling.
- "I think we are confident that part of the recent increase is due to greater extraction and use of natural gas, especially in the U.S.," says Drew Shindell of Duke University.
- "Even if leak rates were constant, when we use more, we leak more," he adds.
What's next: But scientists still need a better understanding of how much of the recent methane rise is natural, how much could be a climate change feedback, such as melting permafrost, or other sources. New monitoring networks or satellites could solve this, Shindell says.
Quick take: Regardless of the source, the surge could put more pressure on regulators and the oil-and-gas industry to curb leakage.