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The Methane Thread pt. 2

Re: The Methane Thread pt. 2

Unread postby Plantagenet » Thu 15 Jun 2017, 17:30:37

I just heard on the NPR news that CO2 emissions didn't increase last year, according to BP.

BP credited this to the fact that the US is switching from coal to NG, and BP promised to provide everyone with as much NG as they want.

Of course, what BP left out is that NG drilling, transport and storage all result in METHANE emissions, and use of more NG means more CH4 emissions. Sure enough, emissions of CH4 are now surging and adding more and more to global Greenhouse Warming. AND, Of course, the Paris Accords, conveniently enough for BP, don't even mention methane.

surge-methane-emissions-

Cheers!

Image
Methane goes uppity up up---could NG fracking be playing a role? Maybe? Ya think?

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Re: The Methane Thread pt. 2

Unread postby Tanada » Thu 15 Jun 2017, 20:16:32

https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/webdata/c ... end_gl.png
Image


March 2017: 1847.8 ppb
March 2016: 1842.1 ppb
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Re: The Methane Thread pt. 2

Unread postby dohboi » Thu 15 Jun 2017, 23:31:17

Is that what we should call a surge?
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Re: The Methane Thread pt. 2

Unread postby Plantagenet » Fri 16 Jun 2017, 12:20:13

dohboi wrote:Is that what we should call a surge?


"Global concentrations of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas and cause of climate change, are now growing faster in the atmosphere than at any other time in the past two decades.
That is the message of a team of international scientists in an editorial to be published 12 December in the journal Environmental Research Letters. The group reports that methane concentrations in the air began to surge around 2007 and grew precipitously in 2014 and 2015. In that two-year period, concentrations shot up by 10 or more parts per billion annually. It's a stark contrast from the early 2000s when methane concentrations crept up by just 0.5 parts per billion on average each year. The reason for the spike is unclear but may come from emissions from agricultural sources and mainly around the tropics - potentially from farm sites like rice paddies and cattle pastures.
"


Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2016-12-surge-met ... s.html#jCp

----------------------------------------

It seems unlikely to me that the surge in CH4 in the atmosphere reflects rapid changes in rice patties as the authors of this report seem to believe. It seems far more likely the it reflects new releases of CH4 accompanying fracking and production of NG, something that grew rapidly at the same time as the surge occurred.

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Re: The Methane Thread pt. 2

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Fri 16 Jun 2017, 13:20:06

Plant - "It seems far more likely the it reflects new releases of CH4 accompanying fracking and production of NG, something that grew rapidly at the same time as the surge occurred.". The only problem with that theory is that any methane leaks would be coming from the well head or along the pipeline transmission or local distribution systems. But at all those junctures the nature of the completion (frac'd hz shale reservoir or vertical convention sandstone reservoir) is "invisible". IOW the equipment and process is identical for both scenarios. And let's not forget recent survey found a shockingly high number of leaks from local distribution systems. And as the article points out we're distributing and burning more NG year after year.

Not a strong (or provable) opinion but I wonder about two potential increased contributors. One, increased production from foreign NG/condensate fields where regs against venting (as opposed to flaring) either don't exist or are weakly enforced. Second increased production, transport and regassification of LNG.
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Re: The Methane Thread pt. 2

Unread postby Plantagenet » Fri 16 Jun 2017, 17:27:35

ROCKMAN wrote: any methane leaks would be coming from the well head or along the pipeline transmission or local distribution systems. But at all those junctures the nature of the completion (frac'd hz shale reservoir or vertical convention sandstone reservoir) is "invisible".


New technologies like IR imaging can see the NG leaks at some drilling and production sites quite clearly.

Image
Greenpeace image of methane leaking from an offshore platform in the North Sea


Other new technologies can "sniff" out NG leaks. Taken together, new studies show that methane leaks from oil and gas are much greater then previously thought.

methane-leaks-gas-pipelines-far-exceed-official-estimates-harvard-study-finds

ROCKMAN wrote: Not a strong (or provable) opinion but I wonder about two potential increased contributors. One, increased production from foreign NG/condensate fields where regs against venting (as opposed to flaring) either don't exist or are weakly enforced. Second increased production, transport and regassification of LNG.


Yup. I agree 100%. There appears to be small amounts of leakage of methane at many points throughout just about all NG delivery and storage networks.

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Re: The Methane Thread pt. 2

Unread postby Tanada » Tue 20 Jun 2017, 11:13:12

ESRL does not post CH4 level updates with anywhere near the frequency that they post CO2 updates, it is more nearly a quarterly update than a daily update. That being said this graph is also worth keeping an eye on like the ones I posted earlier.

Image

ESRL NOAA wrote: The annual increase in atmospheric CH4 in a given year is the increase in its abundance (mole fraction) from January 1 in that year to January 1 of the next year, after the seasonal cycle has been removed (as shown by the black lines in the figure above). It represents the sum of all CH4 added to, and removed from, the atmosphere during the year by human activities and natural processes. Our first preliminary estimate for the annual increase of a particular year is produced during April of the following year, using available data from the previous year. It is important to recognize that the initial, April estimate of the annual increase is likely to change significantly as more data are added to the analysis. That estimate will be updated in subsequent months as more samples are measured for CH4 and included in the analysis. By autumn of the following year the annual increase will typically converge toward a “final” value.

Estimates of the globally-averaged CH4 abundance (monthly- and annually-averaged means), and the annual increase, are updated every month as new samples are returned to Boulder, measured for CH4, and added to the analysis. Adding new, more recent data improves the accuracy of the initial estimate by increasing the spatial density of data and eliminating “end effects” of the curve fitting procedures used. We’ve investigated the impacts of adding new data to the parameters reported here, and a summary of the results follows:

Initial estimates of the CH4 annual increase made in April for the previous year are biased compared to those that follow using additional data. The average bias in the initial estimate is +1±0.8 ppb yr-1 (1 standard deviation shown). Over the next few months, the average bias slowly decreases until it is negligible by July or August. In any given year though, bias in the initial estimate of the annual increase can be much larger than the average, with bias up to ±3 ppb yr-1; that is, it can be positive or negative. In other words, until late in a year, bias in the annual increase can be much larger than the uncertainty reported based on the bootstrap method described below.

Behavior of initial annually-averaged means and monthly-averaged means are similar (see links to files below). For monthly mean CH4, the initial value is typically too high, by up to 7.6 ppb.

The estimated uncertainty in the global annual CH4 increase varies by year, and it has been estimated by a “bootstrap” technique for 1984 and later. One hundred different realizations of a global network were constructed by randomly picking sites, with restitution, from the existing marine boundary layer sites in the NOAA/ESRL cooperative global air sampling network (Dlugokencky et al., 1994). Each member of the ensemble of networks has the same number of sites as the real network, but some sites are missing, while others are represented more than once. An additional condition is that at least one site is present from high southern latitudes, one from the tropics, and one from high northern latitudes, because we have always maintained broad latitude coverage in the real network. Temporal data gaps at individual sites are present in the bootstrap networks. We calculate the mean for each year's annual increase from the ensemble members, and we use one standard deviation as an estimate of the uncertainty. Uncertainties for monthly and annual means are also estimated. As mentioned earlier, bias in our first estimates of annual increase, monthly mean and annual mean can be significantly greater than the stated uncertainty.
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Re: The Methane Thread pt. 2

Unread postby dohboi » Tue 20 Jun 2017, 15:40:55

Nice graph. It looks to me like a pattern of steady linear increase up to about 2000, then something of a ten-year plateau, and now a return to that steady linear increase.

Is there anything else in the data or text you see as something we should especially note or watch out for?

And do you or anyone have links to articles on isotope features of the atmospheric methane that might give some clue as to how much of the new increase has to do with fracking and leaks of NG, and how much to other sources (extensions of rice ag in the tropics...)?
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Re: The Methane Thread pt. 2

Unread postby Subjectivist » Tue 20 Jun 2017, 18:49:52

dohboi wrote:Nice graph. It looks to me like a pattern of steady linear increase up to about 2000, then something of a ten-year plateau, and now a return to that steady linear increase.

Is there anything else in the data or text you see as something we should especially note or watch out for?

And do you or anyone have links to articles on isotope features of the atmospheric methane that might give some clue as to how much of the new increase has to do with fracking and leaks of NG, and how much to other sources (extensions of rice ag in the tropics...)?


Google pulled this up but I don't have access to the full article.

Abstract
Between 1999 and 2006, a plateau interrupted the otherwise continuous increase of atmospheric methane concentration [CH4] since preindustrial times. Causes could be sink variability or a temporary reduction in industrial or climate-sensitive sources. We reconstructed the global history of [CH4] and its stable carbon isotopes from ice cores, archived air, and a global network of monitoring stations. A box-model analysis suggests that diminishing thermogenic emissions, probably from the fossil-fuel industry, and/or variations in the hydroxyl CH4 sink caused the [CH4] plateau. Thermogenic emissions did not resume to cause the renewed [CH4] rise after 2006, which contradicts emission inventories. Post-2006 source increases are predominantly biogenic, outside the Arctic, and arguably more consistent with agriculture than wetlands. If so, mitigating CH4 emissions must be balanced with the need for food production.
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Re: The Methane Thread pt. 2

Unread postby dohboi » Tue 20 Jun 2017, 20:11:03

Soooo, basically we're back to reducing meat eating! :) :)
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Re: The Methane Thread pt. 2

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Tue 20 Jun 2017, 23:52:33

dohboi - "...clue as to how much of the new increase has to do with fracking and leaks of NG..." As explained above if the increase of atmospheric methane is due to leaking wells and/or transportation and local distribution systems it still wouldn't be related to frac'ng. Any leaks are happening "downstream" from the completion be it a frac'd or conventional completion. If the numbers are correct I would suspect two potential sources first. One, from the expanding local distribution system which have been documented to have a much higher leakage then many had assumed. Particularly since NG has been replacing coal in power generation. Second would be increased venting from fields that are primarily producing condensate and flaring (which has been proven to not be 100% effective) and intentional venting.

IOW there are many opportunities for methane leaks throughput the entire dynamic. And also potential for leakage not related to production activity, such as permafrost melting.
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Re: The Methane Thread pt. 2

Unread postby M_B_S » Thu 22 Jun 2017, 08:55:17

Sir James Lovelock warned to use natural gas in his book Revenge of Gaia :arrow: :idea: :!: :idea:

He was never wrong or is he?

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Re: The Methane Thread pt. 2

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Thu 22 Jun 2017, 20:08:00

MBS - Not familiar with his work. But the chemistry is rather simple. NG is a fossil fuel that produces GHG when burned. Consume more NG and produce more GHG.
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Re: The Methane Thread pt. 2

Unread postby dohboi » Thu 22 Jun 2017, 20:49:26

But of course it's not just an issue of 'when it's burned.'

When it escapes unburned into the atmosphere it is dozens of times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than the CO2 it would become if burned, right?
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Re: The Methane Thread pt. 2

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Thu 22 Jun 2017, 21:49:35

dohboi - If we didn't increase the burning of NG we wouldn't be trying to produce more NG. And if we didn't produce more we wouldn't have more potential NG leaks.

Same difference except we are producing much more CO2 by burning NG even if you take into account the greater negative effect of methane.
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