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Could we speed up methane degradation?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

One of the potential effects of methane release is that a higher concentration will lead to a longer lifespan in the atmosphere. From RealClimate contributor David Archer's book:


"It could be that if the methane concentration were higher, the lifetime might be longer because degradation might be limited by the availability of OH radical molecules"

 

So my obvious question is, is there any way to mass-produce this OH radical? It seems it would be a good idea to at least keep the levels constant, if not much higher; if we increased the concentration of this molecule to artificially high levels we might even be able to force methane concentration to decrease, or at least slow its rate of increase even with continuing man-made emissions. Of course this would in turn create more CO2, but molecule for molecule isn't CH4 something like 100 times stronger as a GHG?

This might also be a useful emergency strategy should the hydrates ever start their unstoppable burping...

What you guys think? I tried hunting around google but couldn't find much information about this...does anyone know if it is possible to mass produce the hydroxyl radical?

post #2 of 4

low level ozone breaks down into OH in sushine. smog.

post #3 of 4

Methane has a global warming potential something like 23 times greater than CO2.

 

I've seen it proposed somewhere that we somehow increase the amount of OH in the atmosphere for this reason, but I don't recall if it was proposed how we accomplish this.  I'd group this together with the list of potential geo-engineering solutions.

post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dana1981:

Methane has a global warming potential something like 23 times greater than CO2.

Hm. I thought that was just because greenhouse potential is measured over 100 years, and methane degrades relatively quickly in about 10, so the 23 is like an average or something. Someone on here told me that I think, maybe it's not true.

 

Anyway yeah it would be considered geo-engineering and maybe have some risks if we were to drastically increase it, but just keeping levels stable shouldn't be a problem...

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