SOURCE: Forbes

DATE: October 17, 2017

SNIP: A years-long study of Minnesota farm fields has found that emissions of nitrous oxide—a more dangerous greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide—will likely increase as our planet gets warmer. And our climate models aren’t ready.

Like carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide (yes, the same stuff as laughing gas) traps heat in Earth’s atmosphere. Although it’s thought to account for only about 6% of the greenhouse effect today, it is about 300 times worse for the climate than CO2.

One major source is runoff from farms and fields. Bacteria breaking down nitrogen compounds from manure and synthetic fertilizers generate nitrous oxide as a waste product.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty about how nitrous oxide is going to respond to changing temperature and moisture levels,” says David Kanter, a professor of environmental studies at New York University who has studied nitrogen pollution. He was not involved in the new research.

The answer appears to be worse.