Posts tagged "methane"

Microbes on ice: Climate amplifiers?

Lifeless ice? At first glance, the cryosphere – including all frozen water on Earth – appears to comprise vast, cold expanses devoid of biology. However, even the most remote, hostile and unlikely icy locations in both hemispheres have been found to harbour diverse and active microbial life. It is hard to imagine ice offering many viable places for microbes to exploit; but liquid water and energy sources exist beneath, within, and especially on the surfaces of glaciers and ice sheets. Research has shown us that not only are ice-dwelling microbial communities crucial stores of biodiversity, they might be important amplifiers of global climate change. The area...

Measuring Greenhouse Gases

It is not at all trivial to make precise measurements of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, but exactly this is needed when assessing climate change impacts from human emissions. Only when present concentrations are known as accurately as possible can long-term trends be identified and seasonal variability be studied. The three most important greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). Several clean air measuring stations around the world, with Mauna Loa the most well known, form a global network to monitor atmospheric concentrations. One of these stations is Baring Head, close to Wellington in New Zealand....