Laughing gas is making a serious impact on us

Laughing gas is making a serious impact on us

Earth Day should be reminded that there is one thing that deserves our attention which is climate change. But you may be wondering, what exactly is climate change?

The earth has a collection of winds that reach the top of the sky known as the atmosphere. And when the gases let in sunlight, they also trap heat like a blanket. Without our atmosphere and the gases in it, temperatures would have hovered around zero degrees, Wagner-Riddle said. As it is, the atmosphere keeps the planet at an angle of about 60 degrees. The problem comes when human activities add more to the atmosphere than gas before them. The gases generate more heat and initiate global change in the climate.

According to the EPA, nitrous oxide emits radioactivity and heat traps into the atmosphere, where it can live an average of 114 years, according to the EPA. This puts it in the middle ground of super pollutants. Compared to carbon dioxide, which can remain in the atmosphere for hundreds of years, nitrous oxide stays around for a relatively short time. However, it contains more carbon in the atmosphere than other short-term pollutants such as black carbon (which has been in the atmosphere for a few days) or methane (which has been around for about 12 years).

Carbon dioxide, which is produced by cars, trucks, and factories, is one of the gases that humans add more and more. Methane is another culprit, most of which comes from scattering cows in the beef and dairy industries. However, very little has been discussed about another gas related to climate change. It is nitrous oxide. Often called laughter gas, most people see it as something doctors give patients so that they do not feel pain
during any procedure. Consists of two nitrogen atoms and one oxygen atom, the gas is present in the atmosphere in much smaller amounts than carbon dioxide or methane. But on a molecule-by-molecular basis, Wagner-Riddell says, nitrous oxide is powerful in its ability to change the climate. And once nitrous oxide enters the atmosphere it can stay there for
more than 100 years. Nitrous oxide naturally creates bacteria in the soil. But people are accelerating the amount of nitrous oxide present by adding nitrogen fertilizer to croplands. “It helps us grow larger grasses, corn, soybeans, and apples, but it also supercharges those bacteria and creates extra nitrous oxide.
About 40 percent of nitrous oxide emissions come from human activity and most of this we use on land, especially in agriculture. In large-scale farming, in particular, livestock manure presents a double emission problem: it emits large amounts of methane, but it can also produce nitrous oxide. “When fertilizer doesn’t get access to oxygen at the bottom of the hole, it starts to convert to nitrous oxide. This also happens when a large amount of fertilizer is supplied to the cropland.

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