A Differential Equation Governing Methane Concentration In The Atmosphere

The Extinction Chronicles

Often one hears that methane (CH4) is many times worse than carbon dioxide (CO2) as a greenhouse gas.

ByGuest Contributor

Published20 hours ago

    By Matthew Fulkerson, Just a former physicist turned applied mathematician

    Often one hears that methane (CH4) is many times worse than carbon dioxide (CO2) as a greenhouse gas. For example, the Wikipedia article onatmospheric methanestates that over a 20 year period, CH4 is 84 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas. However, over 100 years, this potency drops to 28 times stronger.

    What is really going on here mathematically? That is the subject of this article.

    There is a chemical reaction that converts CH4 to CO2 and H2O in the atmosphere at some rate k1. Let y be the concentration of methane in the atmosphere. Let k2 be the rate of emission.

    The governing differential equation for this problem is:

    dy/dt =…

    View original post 482 more words

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