The most well-known and talked about greenhouse gas is Carbon Dioxide, and for good reasons too. It’s what we emit from cars, factories, and our very breath right now.
However, Methane (CH4) is another greenhouse gas that could cause massive changes in the future.
Certain areas especially to the north have large methane repositories trapped in the ground because of the colder weather.
This means however that if climate change continues to rage on, and these areas get so hot that the methane starts seeping into the atmosphere, it could speed up climate change even more.

Goal:

In this short article, I will show the very real effects that a higher concentration of methane in the atmosphere could have, in particular the temperature change.
I will heat up a fake atmosphere with a heating lamp, one of which is filled up with normal atmospheric air and the other with methane added.

Background Info (Theory):

Methane is a greenhouse gas, which means that it can trap solar radiation, which causes the earth to heat up, like a greenhouse.
Methane has been tested in various studies, and its greenhouse gas potential has been calculated to be around 22 or 23 times higher than Carbon Dioxide, meaning it could theoretically heat up the earth much higher if we substituted the two.

The Procedure:

Step 1 (Creating Atmospheres):

The first thing to do is to make two different atmospheres, that can be compared.
First I took a bowl and just had normal air in it, and then I closed it over with transparent wrap to keep the air the same.
Then I took another bowl and added methane gas from a container, and then I closed it again with the transparent wrap to let light in and to keep the air inside.

Step 2 (Let there be Light):

For this demonstration of the greenhouse effect, I used a big heating lamp as the sun.
I attached the lamp to two stands from the chemistry lab so it was about half a meter away from the bowl.
Then I put a small digital thermometer sensor inside both bowls connected to an iPad to note down the temperature change in real-time.

Step 3 (It’s Getting Hot in here):

First I put the normal atmospheric air bowl under the light for 10.5 minutes and logged down the data.
Then I let the lamp cool down until it was around room temperature like it hadn’t been used before.
Then I put the methane added air bowl under the light, also for 10.5 minutes, and logged down the data.

Results and Conclusion:

For the atmospheric air, the data looks like this:

For the methane added air, the data looks like this:

In conclusion, the normal atmospheric air reached a peak temperature of 56 degrees Celsius over 10.5 minutes.
And the methane added air reached a peak temperature of 73 degrees Celsius over 10.5 minutes.
This is a 30% increase in temperature over 10.5 minutes, with the same volume of air.
This is consistent with the expected outcome of a higher temperature, because of the added greenhouse gas.
This means that simply changing the composition of the atmosphere can have a pretty drastic change in temperature on the earth.
Also remember that this is methane added, not pure methane, so this is what’s happening to earth right now.

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