Methane and global environmental change

Dave S. Reay, Pete Smith, Torben R. Christensen, Rachael H. James, Harry Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


Global atmospheric methane concentrations have continued to rise in recent years, having already more than doubled since the Industrial Revolution. Further environmental change, especially climate change, in the twenty-first century has the potential to radically alter global methane fluxes. Importantly, changes in temperature, precipitation, and net primary production may induce positive climate feedback effects in dominant natural methane sources such as wetlands, soils, and aquatic ecosystems. Anthropogenic methane sources may also be impacted, with a risk of enhanced emissions from the energy, agriculture, and waste sectors. Here, we review the global sources of methane, the trends in fluxes by source and sector, and their possible evolution in response to future environmental change. We discuss ongoing uncertainties in flux estimation and projection, and highlight the great potential for multisector methane mitigation as part of wider global climate change policy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-192
Number of pages28
JournalAnnual Review of Environment and Resources
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2018


  • adaptation
  • feedbacks
  • mitigation
  • Paris Climate Agreement
  • sinks
  • sources


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