Burping Worms May Contribute to Global Warming

Thursday, March 05, 2009
By Andrea Thompson

Aquatic animals that feed on lake and stream bottom sediments burp out small amounts of nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas, a new study finds.

While the biological emissions from these critters pales in comparison to the nitrous oxide emitted by fossil fuel burning, their contribution could increase as more and more nitrogen-rich fertilizer runs off into lakes, streams and seas, the authors of the study said.

Nitrous oxide (N2O) is more commonly known to anyone who has sat in the dentist's chair as laughing gas.

In the atmosphere it is a powerful greenhouse gas, packing about 310 times the punch as the same weight of carbon dioxide (though carbon dioxide is still the bigger driver because there is much more of it).

Excerpt, read the rest here.

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