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"MARSH GAS"
Devastating hurricanes, like the Catrina which hir the United States from the Mexican Gulf in the latter half of 2005, turbulent floods in Europe and murderous drought in the Southern Hemisphere prove beyond any shade of a doubt that the climate of our planet is changing. According to numerous forecasts such natural disasters are more to come until we learn how to reduce the volumes of hothouse gases discharges-of carbon dioxide and methane*. The levels of the latter in the atmosphere have practically doubled during the past century. This causes mounting concern among specialists who want to make sure whether or not we are to blame for the mounting volumes of "marsh gases" in the atmosphere and how and in what amounts the gas get into the air and from which other sources? Working on these and other associated problems are scientists of the Gasochemistry Laboratory of the Pacific Oceanological Institute named after V. Ilyichev (TOI) of the RAS Far Eastern Branch. A report on these studies has been published by A. Kulikova in the newspaper DV Ucheny (Far Eastern Scientist). So, what is methane after all? This is gas without color or smell-simple organic compound, saturated with hydrocarbon of the aliphatic range. It is released in the oil desposists (100 mn tons annually), plenting of rice (50 mn), burning of wastes (30 mn), are from dump sites (30 mn) or excites as bubbles from waste-waters 20 mn). Another 80 mn tons a year gets into the atmosphere from herds of cattle, which, incidentally, is comparable with the volumes of exhausts of all automobiles of the world. Finally, some 160 mn tons of methane are produced by natural processes mainly taking place in marshlands. The situation is most alarming in the northern latitudes, because the growing volumes of this gas exceed its consumption. Summer-time warmings of frenon soil increase the volumes of natural consumption of this gas. This being so, the global, warming described by many scientists** will have the greate ... Read more
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