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NOAA: Potent Heat-trapping Methane Increases At Record Pace

A truck drops off a load of garbage at the South Kent Landfill in Byron Township, Mich., on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017. On Thursday, April 7, 2022, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a study calculating that levels of the potent heat-trapping gas methane rose at a record pace in 2021. Methane comes from energy use, agriculture and landfills and is also natural. (Mike Clark/The Grand Rapids Press via AP, File)
A truck drops off a load of garbage at the South Kent Landfill in Byron Township, Mich., on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017. On Thursday, April 7, 2022, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a study calculating that levels of the potent heat-trapping gas methane rose at a record pace in 2021. Methane comes from energy use, agriculture and landfills and is also natural. (Mike Clark/The Grand Rapids Press via AP, File)

(AP) -- Global atmospheric levels of the potent but short-lived greenhouse gas methane increased a record amount last year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday, worrying scientists because of the large role methane has in climate change.

The preliminary airborne level of methane jumped 17 parts per billion, hitting 1895.7 parts per billion last year. It’s the second year in a row that methane rose at a record rate with 2020 going up 15.3 ppb over 2019, according to NOAA. Methane levels are now way more than double pre-industrial levels of 720 parts per billion, said Lindsay Lan, an atmospheric scientist at NOAA and the University of Colorado.