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Old 14-01-2006, 22:04   #1
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Post New source of global warming gas found: plants

German scientists have discovered a new source of methane, a greenhouse gas that is second only to carbon dioxide in its impact on climate change.

The culprits are plants.

They produce about 10 to 30 percent of the annual methane found in the atmosphere, according to researchers at the Max-Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, Germany.

The scientists measured the amount of methane released by plants in controlled experiments. They found it increases with rising temperatures and exposure to sunlight.

"Significant methane emissions from both intact plants and detached leaves were observed ... in the laboratory and in the field," Dr Frank Keppler and his team said in a report in the journal Nature.

Methane, which is produced by city rubbish dumps, coal mining, flatulent animals, rice cultivation and peat bogs, is one of the most potent greenhouse gases in terms of its ability to trap heat.

Concentrations of the gas in the atmosphere have almost tripled in the last 150 years. About 600 million tonnes worldwide are produced annually.

The scientists said their finding is important for understanding the link between global warming and a rise in greenhouse gases.

It could also have implications for the Kyoto Protocol, which calls for developed countries to cut their emissions of greenhouse gases by 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12.

Keppler and his colleagues discovered that living plants emit 10 to 100 times more methane than dead plants.

Scientists had previously thought that plants could only emit methane in the absence of oxygen.

David Lowe, of the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research in New Zealand, said the findings are startling and controversial.

"Keppler and colleagues' finding helps to account for observations from space of incredibly large plumes of methane above tropical forests," he said in a commentary on the research.

But the study also poses questions, such as how such a potentially large source of methane could have been overlooked and how plants produced it.

"There will be a lively scramble among researchers for the answers to these and other questions," Lowe added.


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Old 14-01-2006, 22:41   #2
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Don't let the tree huggers know about this. They'll go into denial and say the Germans are lying.

I wonder if they used the satelites to monitor farm manure piles? Drive up to Vancouver, BC through Sumas sometime. It makes your eyes burn. They have huge poop shooters spreading that stuff everwhere.


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Old 15-01-2006, 11:55   #3
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"... a greenhouse gas that is second only to carbon dioxide in its impact on climate change."

Do you have a source you can site for that statement?

The reason I ask is sources which seem reliable state that water vapor is thought to produce about 60% of the "global warming" resulting from the greenhouse gases and Carbon dioxide about 20%.
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Old 15-01-2006, 17:35   #4
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Kind of reminds me of the late 70's when they started finding new things that were suspected of causing cancer. It got to the point where it seemed every time a new ingredient was added to the market, it was deemed to cause cancer. As a similar subject has come up before, the fact has been stated that there is no question that global warming is real, but there is a question about how much of an impact it will have, and wether it is a natural occurance that should be allowed to take it's course. When you start to include causation such as water vapor,it really makes you wonder.
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Old 15-01-2006, 19:35   #5
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Hope I have the right planet. I think what scares the heck out of some scientists is that Venus is much hotter than it ought to be.
It is thought that a small incremental change in one area, leads to unforseen changes in other areas and the whole deal kind of snowballs. If that sort of thing happens you can hear people screaming at the scientists that they did not warn them. It has to be obvious that something will happen if we keep doing what we are currently doing. Chindia, China and India have the potential to double the global number of vehicles on the road very quickly. They want the sort of things we have, and we want to try and lower polution. This is not an easy task going forward. I think we should all try to do what we can.
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Old 15-01-2006, 22:58   #6
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Ummm, wouldn't global warming increase the water vapour in the atmosphere? The point is that CO2 and methane levels are increasing exponentially. I'm not an alarmist but neither am I a betting man.
Does drinking rum and sailing hurt the environment?

Positively, socially deviant.
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Old 15-01-2006, 23:02   #7
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I guess it depends if rum makes you gassy

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