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Name: Lisa B.
Status: student
Age: 18
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 12/10/2002


Question:
I am studying the increasing occurrence of noctilucent clouds as related to methane change in the atmosphere over the past few decades. However, in order to do so, I need to find a source for methane maps of the atmosphere from at least 10-20 years ago, as well as ones from the present. I know that a Landsat satellite conducted studies many years ago, but I'm unable to find any of these images. Is there a web site archive I can access that would have methane maps from different decades? Also, would it be possible to track how much of this methane comes from industrial activity as opposed to animals and agriculture?


Replies:
Lisa,

You may find some sources in the "Science Support" section of the web page isr.sri.com/education/noctilucent_clouds.pdf.

Most of the observations of noctilucent clouds have been visual or with lidar.

I did a review study of research on noctilucent clouds while in college, although that was 30 years ago.

The increase in methane theory has not been supported by scientific evidence, as cloud brightness (which has not increased) should increase with an increase in water vapor, thereby reflecting a possible increase in methane contributing to the water vapor.

The cooling of the upper part of the atmosphere, including the mesophere (where noctilucent clouds form) as a result of an increase in carbon dioxide and perhaps methane has been sufficient over the past 30 years to explain the increase in sightings of noctilucent clouds over those 30 years. Greater awareness of the phenomena and intentional, planned observation for it may have also contributed to the increase in sightings.

David R. Cook
Atmospheric Research Section
Environmental Research Division
Argonne National Laboratory


I was not able to find a resource for the atmospheric distribution of methane. However, this web site may be a place to start by contacting the research group(s) directly.

http://criepi.denken.or.jp/eng/PR/Nenpo/1999E/99seika18.pdf

Vince Calder


Dear Lisa-

This is a VERY ambitious study..! I know of no maps that are directly applicable to your requirements, but if you go to the "google" search engine, and enter "landsat methane maps," you'll get about 1250 hits. Some of those links may be applicable to your study.

Good luck..!

Wendell Bechtold, meteorologist
Forecaster, National Weather Service
Weather Forecast Office, St. Louis, MO


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