Financial TimesFinancial Times

Methane Hunters: What Explains the Surge in the Potent Greenhouse Gas?

By Chris Campbell

23 Aug 2022 · 9 min read

Editor's Note

FT dives deep into how natural and man-made interventions are causing methane levels to spike, why it's increasingly difficult to contain and how it has grim implications for global warming.

Every year, 6,000 flasks arrive at a laboratory in Boulder, Colorado. Inside each is a sample of air, taken from one of a chain of 50 monitoring stations that spans the globe. Together, these samples could help answer one of the most important questions facing the planet: why is there so much methane in the atmosphere?

Blue and black canisters filled with air from Algeria, Alaska, China and Samoa are lined up ready for testing. “We collect these flask samples, then they come back here,” says Ed Dlugokencky, a chemist at the Global Monitoring Laboratory, run by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Sign in to informed

  • Curated articles from premium publishers, ad-free
  • Concise Daily Briefs with quick-read summaries
  • Read, listen, save for later, or enjoy offline
  • Enjoy personalized content