When methane made climate

James F. Kasting

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


The role of methane in Earth's atmosphere is discussed. The single-cell ocean dwellers called methanogens filled the sky with the nearly 600 times as much methane. The methane along with abundant greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from volcanoes warmed the Earth's outgoing heat, while allows sunlight to pass through. The warmer conditions intensifies the weathering of rocks on the continents. The methane links together to form complex hydrocarbons that then condensates into dustlike particles. The high altitude haze of these particles offset the intense green house effect by absorbing the visisble wavelengths of incoming sunlight and radiates them back into space, thereby reducing the total amount of warmth that reached the planet's surface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)78-85
Number of pages8
JournalScientific American
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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