The impact of meteorology on the interannual growth rate of atmospheric methane

N.J. Warwick, S. Bekki, K.S. Law, Euan Nisbet, J.A. Pyle

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The impact of interannual changes in meteorology on the local and global growth rates of atmospheric methane is assessed in a nineteen year simulation using a tropospheric chemical transport model forced by ECMWF meteorological analyses from 1980 to 1998. A very simple CH4 chemistry scheme has been implemented, using prescribed OH fields. There are no interannual variations in modeled methane emissions or in the OH fields, so any changes in the modeled growth rate arise from changes in meteorology. The methane simulation shows significant interannual variability at both local and global scales. The local scale variability is comparable in magnitude to the interannual variability found in surface observations and shows some clear correlation with observed changes in growth rates. This suggests that, even over interannual timescales, meteorology could be important in driving the interannual fluctuations of atmospheric methane at the surface.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2002


  • Meteorology
  • troposphere
  • methane

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