Here’s why you might be worried: Burning oil, coal, gas, wood or other organic materials uses molecular oxygen, the O2 we breathe, to break carbon-hydrogen bonds and release energy. This reaction, better known as combustion, also pairs each broken-off, positively charged carbon atom with two negatively charged oxygen atoms, forming carbon dioxide, or CO2.
In a lush pasture near Buenos Aires, this cow and its compatriots are digesting important information: how much methane—a greenhouse gas 20 times as potent as carbon dioxide—is released by the country's 55 million bovines. Researchers from Argentina's National Institute of Agricultural Technology connected inflatable tanks to the cows' first stomach, where methane is made, through a small hole between their ribs.
With so much focus on sea ice and ice shelves, the role of permafrost in the global climate cycle is often not on the public's radar screen. But according to a new study published last week in the journal Bioscience, permafrost in the Northern Hemisphere contains more than two times the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, and rapid thawing could make it a significant contributor to global climate change.
A new study released by the University of Colorado at Boulder claims that a global sea rise of more than six feet by the year 2100 is nearly impossible.
The researchers used conservative, medium, and extreme scenarios for Greenland, Antarctica, and the world's smaller glaciers and ice caps. Each scenario produced a result from two feet of sea rise to no more than six feet of sea rise. When factoring in thermal expansion due to warming waters, the team concluded that the most plausible scenario would result in a total sea rise of roughly three feet to six feet by 2100.
Dear EarthTalk: What's the deal nowadays with aerosol spray cans? I thought that the ozone-depleting chemicals used in them were eliminated back in the 1970s. Is this true? If so, what is now used as a propellant? Are aerosols still bad for the ozone layer? -- Sheila, Abilene, TX
There's some good news as hurricane season is getting under way: an MIT graduate student has developed a computer model that helps evacuation managers make better decisions, and possibly save lives in the process.
Weeks before Hurricane Gustav slammed into the Caribbean and the Louisiana Gulf Coast, hurricane forecasters at Colorado State University continued to warn of the higher-than-average probability of at least one intense (or major) hurricane making landfall in the United States in the remaining months of this year's hurricane season.
People generally know that substances that are harmless when taken separately in small doses can lead to disorientation, and perhaps uncharacteristic behavior, when mixed. Honey bees, apparently, do not. After all, dabbling is what honey bees do, and it's what we love them for. These little workers are responsible for billions of annual agricultural industry dollars, thanks to their pollination services. But bees haven't been staying on task. They've been acting a little weird lately--leaving their hives and not coming back--and attracting a lot of attention for it.