Oktoberfest produces 10 times as much methane as the city of Boston

For the millions of people who descend on Munich for the annual booze-drenched bash, Oktoberfest is a celebration of beer, bands and bratwurst.

But as the dust settles for another year on the world’s largest folk festival, and die Bierleichen return to the land of the living, environmental scientists have released the first analysis of methane emissions from the 16-day party.

Researchers at the Technical University in Munich walked and cycled around the perimeter of the festival last year with mobile sensors aloft.The instruments revealed that the event emitted nearly 1,500kg of methane – 10 times the amount that wafted off Boston, Massachusetts in the same period.

The scientists attribute most of Oktoberfest’s emissions to leaks and incomplete combustion in cooking and heating appliances.Though an appreciable part of the rise in the gas, about 10%, was attributed to the flatulence and burps of the revellers.

“The observed methane concentrations cannot solely be explained by biogenic sources,” said Jia Chen, who studies greenhouse gases in urban environments.“We have strong indications that fossil fuel methane emissions by gas grills and heating appliances are major sources.”

After carbon dioxide, methane is the second most common greenhouse gas emitted by human activity.Though shorter-lived, it is more effective than carbon dioxide at heating the atmosphere and accounts for about 20% of global heating due to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions since 1750.Atmospheric levels of the gas have surged in recent years for reasons scientists cannot fully explain.

Read More At The Guardian

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