An alternative explanation for recent methane increases

Our new study, led by Matt Rigby, which has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, demonstrates the role of methane oxidation by the hydroxyl radical to explain the post 2007 growth in atmospheric methane concentrations. Several recent studies have proposed a variety of mechanisms that could explain this pattern: increases in tropical wetlands, fossil fuel or agricultural emissions. In our work, we show that the result may not be due to an increase from a particular source, but rather due to a change in the atmospheric sink.

[Image: A MOZART simulation of OH concentrations (Courtesy: Angharad Stell, University of Bristol)]