Articles | Volume 16, issue 15
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-16-3033-2019
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-16-3033-2019
Ideas and perspectives
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14 Aug 2019
Ideas and perspectives | Highlight paper |  | 14 Aug 2019

Ideas and perspectives: is shale gas a major driver of recent increase in global atmospheric methane?

Robert W. Howarth

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Short summary
Atmospheric methane has risen rapidly since 2008 and has become more depleted in 13C, in contrast to the trend towards more 13C enrichment in the late 20th century. Many have used this isotopic evidence to infer an increased biogenic source. Here I analyze the 13C trend with the consideration that methane from shale gas is somewhat depleted in 13C compared to other fossil fuels. I conclude that shale gas may be responsible for a third of the global increase from all sources.
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