Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2019-419
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-2019-419

  14 Feb 2020

14 Feb 2020

Review status: this preprint was under review for the journal BG but the revision was not accepted.

Comment on Ideas and perspectives: is shale gas a major driver of recent increase in global atmospheric methane? by Robert W. Howarth (2019)

Michael D. Lewan Michael D. Lewan
  • U.S. Geological Survey, Emeritus, Box 25046, MS 977, Denver Federal Center, Denver, Colorado 80225, USA

Abstract. The ideas and perspectives presented by Howarth (2019) on shale gas being a major cause of recent increases in global atmospheric methane are based on his notion that stable carbon isotopes of methane (δ13C1) of shale gas are lighter than that of conventional gas based on a meager and unrepresentative data set. A plethora of publicly available data show that the δ13C1 values of shale gas are typically heavier than those of conventional gas. This contradiction renders his ideas, perspectives, and calculations on methane emissions from shale gas invalid.

Michael D. Lewan

Michael D. Lewan

Michael D. Lewan

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Short summary
A plethora of publicly available data show that the δ13C1 values of shale gas are typically heavier than those of conventional gas. This contradiction renders Howarth's ideas, perspectives,and calculations on methane emissions from shale gas invalid. The plethora of publicly available shale-gas data, also indicates that shale gas and conventional gas on a global basis cannot be readily distinguished based solely on δ13C1 values.
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