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Silent But Deadly

As much as  Carbon Dioxide is the most talked about Greenhouse Gas, another less well known contributor is now being looked at as a possible danger.   Methane Gas is becoming an even bigger contributor than previously realized. 

Methane has a Global Warming Potential (the ability to trap the sun’s heat at the surface and prevent it from escaping back into space) 21 times more powerful than Carbon Dioxide. 

Methane Gas forms whenever plant or animal matter starts to decay.  One of the main sources of methane is from cows farting!  Yep, you heard me right…Although Methane is a much more powerful Greenhouse Gas than Carbon Dioxide, it starts to break down after about 7 years in the atmosphere, whereas Carbon Dioxide can remain in the atmosphere for up to 200 years. 

If a plant or animal dies, it begins to decompose as this is happening carbon and methane will be produced (among other things).  However, if the organism is frozen in ice or permafrost, the decomposing process will be delayed until it has thawed. 

Currently, there is a great amount of Permafrost that is in danger of thawing, becuase of rising temperatures.  If this were to happen, there would be millions of frozen organisms (both plant and animals) that did not decay because of the cold.  This would greatly increase the amount of carbon dioxide and methane being released into the atmosphere, further amplifying Global Warming.

Read about the issue here, here, and here

Click below to view movie about cows and methane…

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