Methane: The Greenhouse Gas We Are Still Confused About


Methane: The Greenhouse Gas We Are Still Confused About

Methane is coming second to carbon dioxide when the importance of climate change is concerned. Both natural processes and human activities produce methane. When there is a change in the climate, it will increase the production of natural methane. If you want to know the role of the methane that it plays in the atmosphere, then you have first to understand the meaning of absorption. When through the air, the light passes, for example, when through the air, the sunlight passes, there are some molecules in the gas. And they absorb the photon of light and then these jumps to the excited state.

Know About The Process Of Absorption In Methane:

Methane: The Greenhouse Gas We Are Still Confused About
Methane: The Greenhouse Gas We Are Still Confused About

In the laboratory test, there is a long tube filled with a specific gas. Then there is a standard light that set at the end of the tube. And at the other end of the tube is the spectrometer. This spectrometer measure that in each wavelength, how much light is needed to make it through the tube without getting absorbed. From these kinds of measurements, the probability of the radiation is captured by the molecule. This decides the wavelength functions. And the numerical expression is called the absorption cross-section.

But if you follow the same measures but with ordinary air, then you will mix up all the results as we all know that the air is a mixture of many gases. Hence it is suggested that you mix one gas at a time. All the data kept in the charts and tables of the cross-section. Once you get to know all the cross-sections thoroughly, you can then put it in the computer program. Then you can calculate the total absorption by any mixture of the gas.

Know More About Methane:

Many molecules absorb the regions of different wavelengths. These are called bands. The main components of the nitrogen, oxygen, and air absorb the ultraviolet light. You will see that there is no absorption in the wavelength that is visible. But you will see that there are many gases with the absorption bands in the regions of the infrared. Hence these are together called Greenhouse gases (GHG). But since when the infrared energy gets absorbed, it then warms the air, and thus the name of the greenhouse effect given.

The Second Greenhouse Gas: Carbon Dioxide

Methane: The Greenhouse Gas We Are Still Confused About
Methane: The Greenhouse Gas We Are Still Confused About

The second most important greenhouse gas is more effective for carbon dioxide. To be more precise as an absorber, it is six times more effective then H2O. But carbon dioxide is of about 0.4% of the atmosphere hence making it less important than the water vapor. The H2O strongly absorbs the 3-micron region. And then it absorbs between 5 and 7. Also, it incorporates beyond the 12 microns. Methane has the absorbs narrowly at 3.3 microns and 7.5 microns. As an absorber, methane is more effective than carbon dioxide in the bands. Hence methane is an irrelevant greenhouse gas.

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