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Greenhouse Gas Research Group

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Investigation of the Southern Methane Anomaly: causes, implications, and relevance to past global events. (NERC)

Methane is the second most important greenhouse gas and contributes to the atmospheric chemistry affecting ozone.  Southern tropical methane sources and sinks constitute a significant component of the global methane budget. The current major anomaly in southern methane growth rate is among the largest on record. Yet despite its importance, tropical methane variability has received relatively little study. This proposal is to investigate the southern tropical methane budget. The work will improve quantification of southern tropical sources and the understanding of the mechanisms of sudden growth events.

The project will focus on the measurement of methane in the southern tropics, carrying out campaign studies, especially on Ascension, and modelling the results. Measurement will include continuous measurement by CRDS in Ascension, E. Falklands, bi-annual Atlantic transects by RRS JC Ross, and Tedlar bag sample collection for CH4 and δ13C of CH4 in Uganda, Peru and Bolivia. Campaign studies will include installation of a CRDS instrument in Peru and use of an unmanned aerial system (UAV) to sample above the Trade Wind Inversion on Ascension, as well as source campaigns to characterise δ13C signatures of CH4 emissions in Africa and S. America.


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