Is Methane a greenhouse gas?
Introduction and sources of methane in the atmosphere:
Methane is an aliphatic hydrocarbon compound with chemical formula, CH4. It is also known as an organic greenhouse gas. Methane plays an important role in global warming.
Methane contributes about 14% to global warming. Methane gas enters the atmosphere due to human activities and from natural sources.
For example, CH4 is produced due to decomposition of organic manure applied to paddy fields and other wetlands and entered into the atmosphere.
Again, methane (CH4) is produced and released into the atmosphere by the decomposition of organic compounds from canals and muddy wetlands.
Methane is also entered into the atmosphere from oil and coal mines. Methane is 19% of the atmosphere’s greenhouse gases.
Methane Is A Greenhouse Gas:
Methane is a greenhouse gas because of methane is related with greenhouse effect. For this reason, methane is known as an organic greenhouse gas.
34% of the light rays from the sun are reflected by the earth’s surface and return to space in the form of infrared radiation (net heat energy).
Now, the gaseous components present in the atmosphere that increase the average temperature of the atmosphere by absorbing this infrared radiation reflected by the earth’s surface are called greenhouse gases.
Like other greenhouse gas, methane gas absorbs the IR radiation reflected by the earth’s surface and helps to increase the average temperature of the atmosphere.
How Methane Increases Earth’s Average Temperature?
The energy coming from the sun is basically visible light rays with short wavelengths or slightly ultraviolet rays.
A portion of this ray incident on the surface is absorbed by the surface and during radiation becomes a large wavelength IR ray. It is basically heat energy.
This energy cannot penetrate the greenhouse gas layer. That is, this infrared radiation is absorbed by methane and other greenhouse gases.
As the concentration of methane gas increases, so does the ability to retain heat. Naturally the average temperature of the earth increases.
Hence methane is a greenhouse gas. The contribution of methane gas in increasing the mean temperature of earth is 14–16%.