Methane in rivers contribute more to global warming than nitrous oxide

   Jan 14, 3:15 pm

Washington, Jan 14 (ANI): Scientists investigating the role of streams and rivers in global climate change have suggested that the global warming potential of methane gas exceeds that of nitrous oxide (N2O).

Nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions have been the leading area of concern for scientists investigating the role of streams and rivers in global climate change for the past decade.

A potent greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide is produced in riverbed sediments through nitrification and denitrification. Efforts to understand the rate at which nitrous oxide diffuses through the water to the atmosphere have dominated the field, yet diffusion is not the only relevant mechanism nor is nitrous oxide the only relevant gas.

Now, observations by Baulch et al. suggest that the global warming potential of methane gas, which they measured bubbling up from several riverbeds, exceeds that of nitrous oxide.

Gases produced in river sediments can travel to the atmosphere by diffusing through the water column, escaping as bubbles, or through plant-facilitated transport.

The researchers measured methane and nitrous oxide concentrations in the water and in riverbed bubbles and measured bubble accumulation in surface bubble traps for four Ontario streams to sort out whether diffusion or ebullition is dominant for each gas.

They find that 10 to 80 percent of methane emissions are in the form of bubbles, while nitrous oxide emissions are almost completely through diffusion.

They also found that methane bubbles surpass diffused nitrous oxide in terms of global warming potential, which they suggest could warrant a rethinking of the importance of streams and rivers to global warming.

The research has been recently published in Journal of Geophysical Research- Biogeosciences (JGR-G). (ANI)

Army ants efficient in 'minding the gap' Nov 30, 8:15 am
Washington D.C, Nov 30 (ANI): Army ants in South and Central America can teach humans a thing or two about efficient delivery as a new study suggests that they build bridges to shorten their journeys through the rainforest.
Full Story
New tech can make solar cells less `shiny`, more efficient Nov 30, 8:15 am
Washington D.C, Nov 30 (ANI): Scientists, including one of Indian-origin, have come out with a new technology that can boost the efficiency and lower the cost of solar cells.
Full Story
Early ecosystems were more complex than previously believed Nov 29, 8:01 am
Washington D.C, Nov 29 (ANI): An organism from 555 million years ago has shown that Earth's first ecosystems were more complex than previously believed.
Full Story
Human and bird's common sound production mechanism Nov 28, 2:47 pm
Washington D.C, Nov 28 (ANI): When birds and humans sing, it sounds completely different, but now new research shows that the very same physical mechanisms are at play when a bird sings and a human speaks.
Full Story