Friday, July 10, 2015

Global Mean Atmospheric Methane Breaks Above Highest 2014 Reading

METOP IASI 2-A: An all time high global mean methane.

During July 8, 2015, 12-24 hrs, global mean atmospheric methane measured 1830 ppb at 469 mb. This is higher than the 1829 ppb reached on September 4-5, 2014 at the same atmospheric level as measured by the METOP 2-A satellite(OSPO has changed the color scheme - the numbers tell the story).

What is very troubling is that the July 8, 2015 reading is 23 ppbv above July 8, 2014  and 30 ppbv above July 8, 2013 

METOP IASI 1-B: Not available for comparison.

Unfortunately, the METOP 1-B IASI instrument has not been available since April, 24, 2015, so we have no comparative readings at this time. 

During 2014, the METOP 1-B satellite measured mean atmospheric methane as high as 1839 ppb on August, 25 and 28 and September 5 and 7 in 2014. (OSPO changed the color scheme in the last year).

Major factors contributing to the accelerating increase in atmospheric methane so early this year seem to be extraordinary burning of tundra, increased heating in the Arctic contributing to methane release, and also ocean heating which may also be contributing to methane production globally.

This latest high is one indicator that methane readings in 2014 and 2015 have begun a major abrupt spike from the trend of the last decade.

More on that in another post.


  1. Is this a continuation of the 2014 trend?

  2. The jig is up.
    Where I live in coastal CA, you wouldn't even think that anything is so fatally wrong.

  3. The change from the 2014 trend is abrupt. I'll post more over the weekend on the change.

    1. It is abrupt when you look at July a year ago, but when you consider the mean methane in November was well past 1820, it's not really that abrupt. A month-by-month approach, I think, would show a steady rise from November to July from 1822 or so to 1830. Not to say none of this is concerning. It certainly is, but as you said before, the increase is driven mainly by the prevalence of wildfires this year and ocean heating. That does not seem to be consistent with rapid hydrate release. I don't think that's what you're saying, but I am trying to put that argument in context.

  4. Where do you get the numeric data on global methane from?

  5. Hi Chris,

    I have collected the Metop 2-A imagery and global mean methane numbers since December 5, 2012. Also, I have collected the METOP 1-B imagery as available since April 5, 2014, when it became available on the OSPO IASI website. That IASI imagery is only available for 3 days, then it drops permanently - with no archiving.

    From that imagery I record the highest global mean methane for each 12 hour period, 0-12 hrs and 12-24 hrs. I then average the mean methane for each dekadal period and then each month, to track trends.

    I save the imagery beginning at the mb layer with the first highest range reading above 1950 ppb, down to the mb layer where the 1950 ppb concentrations end. Currently that is 25 GB of imagery.

    The OSPO site is:


  6. I'm just starting to realise how serious methane has become. Glad you have been analyzing it. Sorry if I've not yet found the answer to my own question: as a amateur mathematician I find the following tricky: "What is very troubling is that the July 8, 2015 reading is 23 ppbv above July 8, 2014 and 30 ppbv above July 8, 2013". Surely focusing on individual dates is wrong? Much more convincing to show the data as overlapping annual trends on a graph?
    Thanks for your diligence, best regards, Geoff