Tuesday, April 16, 2019
First We Worried About CO2, Then CH4. Now It's N2O.
Nitrous Oxide, N2O, has joined Carbon Dioxide, CO2, and Methane, CH4, to our climate change worries.
Carbon dioxide is bad and persists for centuries. Methane is about 25 times more potent but shorter-lived, about 12 years. Nitrous oxide, by comparison, is nearly 300 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas and has a lifespan of 110 years. It also destroys the ozone layer.
Size, or at least volume, matters and on that score, CO2 is the unchallenged global warming bad boy.
As for N2O, for many years the US EPA treated the risk as negligible because it was thought there simply wasn't much nitrous oxide to worry about. A recent survey of thawing permafrost in Alaska, however, found N2O levels twelve times the EPA guesstimate.
Once again science show us that, when it comes to man-made climate change, it's just one damned thing after another.