Global methane concentration, 2004

Global methane concentration, 2004

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Credit: NASA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Global methane concentration. Map showing the concentration of methane (CH4) gas on the Earth's surface on 25th July 2004. The concentration is in parts-per-million by volume (ppmv), ranging from low levels (blue) to high levels (red). Methane is produced by activities on Earth's surface, such as rice farming, and is then carried to the stratosphere (about 10-50 kilometres in altitude) by rising air. Although a minute proportion of the Earth's atmosphere is composed of methane (less than 0.001 per cent), it is a powerful heat trapping (greenhouse) gas that keeps Earth warm and habitable. For a map of methane levels in the stratosphere, see image E060/021.

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