Thursday, August 4, 2011

Ocean Microbes Produce 30 Percent Of Atmospheric Nitrous Oxide, A Potent Greenhouse Gas

From ScienceNews, "Marine microbes prove potent greenhouse gas emitters: The unsung climate warmers are single-celled organisms once considered a type of bacteria" by Janet Raloff:
Earth’s oceans emit an estimated 30 percent of the nitrous oxide, or N2O, entering the atmosphere. Yet the source of this potent greenhouse gas has puzzled scientists for years. Bacteria — long the leading candidate — can generate N2O, although the seas don’t seem to contain enough to account for all of the N2O that the marine world has been coughing up. Now researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and MIT offer a more likely candidate: archaea.


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