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Laughing gas threatens Arctic

By Juliet Eilperin

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 nittrous oxide.


Juliet Eilperin

 |  April 4, 2010; 9:15 PM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Posted by: itkonlyyouqq | April 6, 2010 8:48 PM
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If control of nitrous oxide consists of its oxidation by catalytic converters on cars and trucks, the result will likely be increased emissions and concentrations of nitrogen dioxide in the air we breathe.

Posted by: snorbertzangox | April 6, 2010 11:40 AM
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