Name: Lisa B.
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
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.
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.
Wendell Bechtold, meteorologist
Forecaster, National Weather Service
Weather Forecast Office, St. Louis, MO
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Update: June 2012