Methane is the second most common greenhouse gas emitted in the United States from human activities. Methane accounts for 9% of all US Greenhouse gas emissions in the US due to human activities. Methane is also emitted from natural sources such as wetlands. Methane is also produced from human activities like leakage of from natural gas systems and also raising of livestock. Methane is removed from the atmosphere by natural processes which take place in soil and chemical reactions taking place in the atmosphere. The life cycle of methane in the atmosphere is much shorter but it has a better ability to trap radiation than CO2. So Kg by Kg, the impact of methane on the atmosphere is 20 times more than CO2 over a century.
60% of all global emissions come from human activities. Methane is produced by industry, agriculture and waste management process. New studies have indicated that hundreds of seafloor methane vents off the U.S. East Coast could be a major contributor to green house gasses.
.A new study which has been published in journal Nature reveals that there are more than 30,000 vents across the globe. It was a chance discovery and it suggests that a huge amount of the gas is locked in an icy compound which is known as methane hydrate. The scientists have spotted at least 570 between North Carolina and Massachusetts. These vents could be anywhere between 50m to 1,700m down.
Study lead author Adam Skarke, a professor at Mississippi State University, told BBC News “It is the first time we have seen this level of seepage outside the Arctic that is not associated with features like oil or gas reservoirs or active tectonic margins,”.
The seafloor is riddled seeps with methane bubbling to the surface and the warming of the Atlantic Ocean is now believed to be because of the melting of methane hydrates. Methane is one of the most potent green house gases.
Skarke told NBC News “Warming of the ocean waters could cause this ice to melt and release gas.So there may be some connection here to Intermediate Ocean warming, though we need to carry out further investigations to confirm if that is the case.”