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Future role of Methane Emissions in the climate System (FuMES)

English title Future role of Methane Emissions in the climate System (FuMES)
Applicant Peter Thomas
Number 138037
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Institut für Atmosphäre und Klima ETH Zürich
Institution of higher education ETH Zurich - ETHZ
Main discipline Climatology. Atmospherical Chemistry, Aeronomy
Start/End 01.11.2011 - 31.10.2014
Approved amount 330'000.00
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All Disciplines (3)

Discipline
Climatology. Atmospherical Chemistry, Aeronomy
Other disciplines of Environmental Sciences
Other disciplines of Earth Sciences

Keywords (5)

Atmospheric chemistry; Radiative forcing; Climate change; Long-lived greenhouse gases; Atmospheric methane

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary

Future role of Methane Emissions in the climate System (FuMES)

 

In its most recent assessment report the IPCC stated that the observed warming of the climate system is most likely caused by increased anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.  Methane (CH4) emissions caused by human activities have led to a doubling of atmospheric CH4 concentrations since pre-industrial times, making CH4 to be the second most important long-lived greenhouse gas after CO2 (in terms of radiative forcing).  With a 25-times larger global warming potential than CO2 (on a 100-yr time horizon), methane would become even more important as driver of climate change if its atmospheric concentrations continued to rise.  In light of this development several mitigation options to reduce anthropogenic CH4 emissions have been proposed.  However, CH4 emissions from natural wetlands might increase in a warmer climate and offset future efforts to reduce anthropogenic emissions. Substantial uncertainties in the understanding of the complex interactions between atmospheric methane and other atmospheric quantities like OH, CO, O3, tropospheric UV fluxes, aerosols and clouds make reliable projections difficult.

 

To contribute to a clarification of these uncertainties we propose here to run an ensemble of short- and long-term model simulations using the state-of-the-art atmosphere-chemistry-climate model SOCOL coupled to a dynamic global vegetation model. The following questions will be addressed in detail:

 

-        What is the relative importance of individual source and sink processes for the short- and long-term variability of the atmospheric methane abundance? Which processes determine the strength of individual methane sources and sinks?

 

-        How will methane emissions from natural wetlands change in a warmer climate?

 

-        How will the oxidation capacity of the troposphere and, therefore, the main atmospheric methane sink change in future? What are the implications for air quality?

 

-        How do proposed methane mitigation measures compare with a climate-change related aggravation of natural methane emissions?

 

The envisaged model system will be able to simulate the atmospheric methane cycle in a self-consistent manner, including atmospheric methane sinks, CH4 uptake in soils as well as methane emissions from wetlands and other sectors. Furthermore, the model will capture the relevant feedback effects between methane emissions and the coupled chemistry-climate system of troposphere and stratosphere, including land-surface processes. The application of this novel model is expected to allow for a more reliable estimate of the future role of atmospheric methane in the climate system.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
The role of methane in projections of 21st century stratospheric water vapour
Revell Laura E., Stenke Andrea, Rozanov Eugene, Ball William, Lossow Stefan, Peter Thomas (2016), The role of methane in projections of 21st century stratospheric water vapour, in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 16(20), 13067-13080.
Decision strategies for policy decisions under uncertainties: The case of mitigation measures addressing methane emissions from ruminants
Hirsch Hadorn Gertrude, Brun Georg, Soliva Carla Riccarda, Stenke Andrea, Peter Thomas (2015), Decision strategies for policy decisions under uncertainties: The case of mitigation measures addressing methane emissions from ruminants, in Environmental Science & Policy, 52, 110-119.
Drivers of the tropospheric ozone budget throughout the 21st century under the medium-high climate scenario RCP 6.0
Revell L. E., Tummon F., Stenke A., Sukhodolov T., Coulon A., Rozanov E., Garny H., Grewe V., Peter T. (2015), Drivers of the tropospheric ozone budget throughout the 21st century under the medium-high climate scenario RCP 6.0, in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 15(10), 5887-5902.
The changing ozone depletion potential of N2O in a future climate
Revell L. E., Tummon F., Salawitch R. J., Stenke A., Peter T. (2015), The changing ozone depletion potential of N2O in a future climate, in Geophysical Research Letters, 42(22), 10,047-10,055.
Impact of solar versus volcanic activity variations on tropospheric temperatures and precipitation during the Dalton Minimum
Anet J. G., Muthers S., Rozanov E. V., Raible C. C., Stenke A., Shapiro A. I., Broennimann S., Arfeuille F., Brugnara Y., Beer J., Steinhilber F., Schmutz W., Peter T. (2014), Impact of solar versus volcanic activity variations on tropospheric temperatures and precipitation during the Dalton Minimum, in CLIMATE OF THE PAST, 10(3), 921-938.
Multimodel estimates of atmospheric lifetimes of long-lived ozone-depleting substances: Present and future
Chipperfield M. P., Liang Q., Strahan S. E., Morgenstern O., Dhomse S. S., Abraham N. L., Archibald A. T., Bekki S., Braesicke P., Di Genova G., Fleming E. L., Hardiman S. C., Iachetti D., Jackman C. H., Kinnison D. E., Marchand M., Pitari G., Pyle J. A., Rozanov E., Stenke A., Tummon F. (2014), Multimodel estimates of atmospheric lifetimes of long-lived ozone-depleting substances: Present and future, in JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES, 119(5), 2555-2573.
The coupled atmosphere-chemistry-ocean model SOCOL-MPIOM
Muthers Stefan, Anet J. G., Stenke Andrea, Raible Christoph Cornelius, Rozanov Eugene V., Brönnimann S., Peter Thomas H., Arfeuille Florian X., Shapiro Alexander I., Beer Jürg, Steinhilber Friedhelm, Brugnara Y., Schmutz Werner K. (2014), The coupled atmosphere-chemistry-ocean model SOCOL-MPIOM, in Geoscientific Model Development, 7(5), 2157-2179.
Climate and chemistry effects of a regional scale nuclear conflict
Stenke A., Hoyle C. R., Luo B., Rozanov E., Groebner J., Maag L., Broennimann S., Peter T. (2013), Climate and chemistry effects of a regional scale nuclear conflict, in ATMOSPHERIC CHEMISTRY AND PHYSICS, 13(19), 9713-9729.
Forcing of stratospheric chemistry and dynamics during the Dalton Minimum
Anet J. G., Muthers Stefan, Rozanov Eugene V., Raible Christoph Cornelius, Peter Thomas, Stenke Andrea, Shapiro Alexander I., Beer Jürg, Steinhilber Friedhelm, Brönnimann Stefan, Arfeuille Florian, Brugnara Y., Schmutz W. (2013), Forcing of stratospheric chemistry and dynamics during the Dalton Minimum, in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 13(21), 10951-10967.
Skin Cancer Risks Avoided by the Montreal Protocol-Worldwide Modeling Integrating Coupled Climate-Chemistry Models with a Risk Model for UV
van Dijk Arjan, Slaper Harry, den Outer Peter N., Morgenstern Olaf, Braesicke Peter, Pyle John A., Garny Hella, Stenke Andrea, Dameris Martin, Kazantzidis Andreas, Tourpali Kleareti, Bais Alkiviadis F. (2013), Skin Cancer Risks Avoided by the Montreal Protocol-Worldwide Modeling Integrating Coupled Climate-Chemistry Models with a Risk Model for UV, in PHOTOCHEMISTRY AND PHOTOBIOLOGY, 89(1), 234-246.
The SOCOL version 3.0 chemistry-climate model: description, evaluation, and implications from an advanced transport algorithm
Stenke Andrea, Schraner Martin, Rozanov Eugene, Egorova Tanja, Luo Beiping, Peter Thomas (2013), The SOCOL version 3.0 chemistry-climate model: description, evaluation, and implications from an advanced transport algorithm, in Geosci. Model Dev., 6, 1407-1427.
Methane Modeling: From Process Modeling to Global Climate Models
Stenke Andrea, Deckert Rudolf, Gottschaldt Klaus-Dirk (2012), Methane Modeling: From Process Modeling to Global Climate Models, in Ulrich Schumann (ed.), Springer, Heidelberg, 781-797.
Global Atmospheric Sulfur Budget under Volcanically Quiescent Conditions: Aerosol-Chemistry-Climate Model Predictions and Validation
Sheng Jianxiong, Weisenstein Debra, Luo Beiping, Stenke Andrea, Anet Julien, Bingemer Heinz, Peter Thomas, Global Atmospheric Sulfur Budget under Volcanically Quiescent Conditions: Aerosol-Chemistry-Climate Model Predictions and Validation, in Journal of Geophysical Research.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
University of Bern, Prof. Stefan Brönnimann, Dr. Christoph Raible, Dr. Renato Spahni Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Bodecker Scientific, Dr. Laura Revell New Zealand (Oceania)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
WSL, Dr. Nick Zimmermann Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
DLR, Dr. Patrick Jöckel Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Montana State University, Prof. Ben Poulter United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
EMPA, Dr. Dominik Brunner Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
CCMI community Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
PMOD/WRC, Dr. Eugene Rozanov Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Kolloquium Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre, DLR Individual talk Kühe, Kohle, Feuchtgebiete - Modellstudien zum atmosphärischen Methanbudget 25.07.2016 Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany Stenke Andrea;
SHARP Workshop Talk given at a conference The role of methane in projections of stratospheric water vapor trends 19.02.2016 Berlin, Germany Stenke Andrea;
CCMI workshop Poster Simulation of future atmospheric methane concentrations using the CCM SOCOL 08.10.2015 Rom, Italy Stenke Andrea;
IGAC/SPARC CCMI Workshop Poster Sensitivity of atmospheric CH4 concentrations to emission data sets and other forcings 20.05.2014 Lancaster, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Stenke Andrea;
IGAC/SPARC CCMI Workshop Poster Tracking chemically- and transport-induced changes in tropospheric ozone in the SOCOL CCM 13.05.2013 Boulder, United States of America Stenke Andrea; Peter Thomas;
2012 ACCENT-IGAC-GEIA-Conference on Emissions to Address Science and Policy Emission Needs Poster Sensitivity of simulated atmospheric CH4 concentrations on emission datasets 11.06.2012 Toulouse, France Peter Thomas; Stenke Andrea;
IGAC/SPARC Global Chemistry-Climate Modeling and Evaluation (CCMVal) Workshop Poster Validation of the chemistry-climate model SOCOL version 3 21.05.2012 Davos, Switzerland Stenke Andrea; Peter Thomas;
IGAC/SPARC Global Chemistry-Climate Modeling and Evaluation (CCMVal) Workshop Poster Sensitivity of simulated atmospheric CH4 concentrations on emission datasets 21.05.2012 Davos, Switzerland Peter Thomas; Stenke Andrea;
HAMMOZ workshop Talk given at a conference Atmospheric and climate effects of regional scale nuclear conflicts 28.03.2012 Zürich, Switzerland Peter Thomas; Stenke Andrea;
SPARC (Stratospheric Processes and their role in climate) SSG Meeting 2012 Talk given at a conference Tropospheric chemistry modeling by SOCOL 07.02.2012 Zürich, Switzerland Peter Thomas; Stenke Andrea;
DLR Kolloquium Individual talk Impact of ENSO events on atmospheric methane 14.12.2011 Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany Stenke Andrea;


Self-organised

Title Date Place

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Video/Film "A year of Earth's methane" - OmniGlobe, Focus Terra German-speaking Switzerland 2015
Talks/events/exhibitions Zürcher Wissenschaftstage Scientifica German-speaking Switzerland 2015

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
130478 Impact of Artificial Stratospheric Sulfate Aerosols investigated with a coupled aerosol-chemistry climate model (IASSA) 01.11.2010 Project funding (Div. I-III)
130642 Future and Past Solar Influence on the Terrestrial Climate 01.09.2010 Sinergia
149806 SPARC International Project office 01.02.2014 Research Infrastructure

Abstract

Future role of Methane Emissions in the climate System (FuMES)In its most recent assessment report the IPCC stated that the observed warming of the climate system is most likely caused by increased anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. Methane (CH4) emissions caused by human activities have led to a doubling of atmospheric CH4 con-centrations since pre-industrial times, making CH4 to the second most important long-lived greenhouse gas after CO2 (in terms of radiative forcing). With a 25-times larger global warming potential than CO2 (on a 100-yr time horizon), methane would become even more important as driver of climate change if its atmospheric concentrations continued to rise. In light of this development several mitigation options to reduce anthropogenic CH4 emissions have been proposed. However, CH4 emissions from natural wetlands might increase in a warmer climate and offset future efforts to reduce anthropogenic emissions. Substantial uncertainties in the understanding of the complex interactions between atmospheric methane and other atmospheric quantities like OH, CO, O3, tropospheric UV fluxes, aerosols and clouds make reliable projections difficult. To contribute to a clarification of these uncertainties we propose here to run an ensemble of short- and long-term model simulations using the state-of-the-art atmos-phere-chemistry-climate model SOCOL coupled to a dynamic global vegetation model. The following questions will be addressed in detail:- What is the relative importance of individual source and sink processes for the short- and long-term variability of the atmospheric methane abundance? Which processes determine the strength of individual methane sources and sinks?- How will methane emissions from natural wetlands change in a warmer climate?- How will the oxidation capacity of the troposphere and, therefore, the main atmospheric methane sink change in future? What are the implications for air quality?- How do proposed methane mitigation measures compare with a climate-change related aggravation of natural methane emissions? The envisaged model system will be able to simulate the atmospheric methane cycle in a self-consistent manner, including atmospheric methane sinks, CH4 uptake in soils as well as methane emissions from wetlands and other sectors. Furthermore, the model will capture the relevant feedback effects between methane emissions and the coupled chemistry-climate system of troposphere and stratosphere, including land-surface processes. The application of this novel model is expected to allow for a more reliable estimate of the future role of atmospheric methane in the climate system.
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