"Laughing Gas Threatens Arctic"

"Nitrous oxide stemming from thawing permafrost poses a more serious global warming threat than previously realized, according to a new study published Sunday in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Under certain conditions emissions from the greenhouse gas--otherwise known as laughing gas--coming from melting wetlands in eastern Greenland have multiplied by 20 times, the researchers found. The study suggests that nitrous oxide released by thawing permafrost, which lies under roughly a quarter of the land in the Northern Hemisphere, could be a bigger contributor to climate change than previously thought.

Nitrous oxide ranks as the third-most significant greenhouse gas generated by human activities, behind carbon dioxide and methane. The newly-finalized federal rules regulating greenhouse emissions from cars and light trucks includes nitrous oxide."

Juliet Eilperin reports for Post Carbon April 4, 2010.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010