Taxonomy term

methane

Comment: Could NASA find evidence of extraterrestrial life by 2050?

Two upcoming missions will provide the first systematic approach to searching the atmospheres of exoplanets for signs of life — and they could find it in the next several decades.

04 Jun 2018

Red Planet Roundup: February 2018

With two rovers patrolling the surface of Mars, six spacecraft orbiting above it, and scientists here on Earth studying the Red Planet from afar, new findings are announced often. Here are a few of the latest updates.

09 Feb 2018

Reconstructing ancient oxidant levels and their climatic effects

Oxidants in the troposphere, such as ozone and hydroxyl radicals, influence the life spans of other atmospheric components, including pollutants and greenhouse gases like carbon monoxide and methane. But how the abundance of tropospheric oxidants varies as climate changes is poorly understood. Part of the challenge is that these oxidants are too reactive to be preserved in paleo-records, such as ice cores.

29 Aug 2017

Red Planet Roundup: November 2015

With two rovers patrolling the surface of Mars, five spacecraft orbiting above it, and scientists here on Earth studying the Red Planet from afar, new findings are announced often. Here are a few of the latest updates.
 
14 Nov 2015

One-two punch of past warming may hold lessons

Geologists are fond of the saying, “The past is key to the future.” Unfortunately, the past has been a poor guide when it comes to understanding modern climate change. Now, however, a new study suggests that one episode — a spike in global temperatures that occurred about 55 million years ago — may be a better analog than previously thought, and could yield insights into the planet’s future.

 
09 Apr 2015

Methane be dammed!

Beavers were nearly killed off in the 19th century as trappers hunted them for their soft pelts. A successful conservation effort over the past 100 years brought the dam-builders back from the brink, but a new study published in the journal AMBIO has found that all those beaver-built ponds may be producing significant amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas.

 
05 Apr 2015

Red Planet Roundup: March 2015

NASA’s Curiosity rover found evidence that one or more large and long-lasting lakes probably filled Gale Crater in the planet’s warmer and wetter early history. While investigating the lower slopes of Mount Sharp recently at an outcrop called the Murray Formation, the rover photographed thick rock stacks featuring numerous layers of lithified sediment. Such stacks are typical of lake environments, where sediments slowly settle to the bottom and transform into rock over time.

15 Mar 2015

Hundreds of methane seeps discovered along the U.S. East Coast

The release of methane from seafloor sediments may have a significant influence on global climate, but the ubiquity and stability of such pockets is not well understood. Now the discovery of hundreds of methane seeps on the seafloor along the U.S. East Coast suggests that such reservoirs may be more common along passive margins than previously thought. The easily accessible region may prove to be an ideal natural laboratory for studying how such seafloor methane may influence water temperatures and ultimately climate.

07 Dec 2014

Methane lingered after Gulf blowout

Between April 20, 2010, when BP’s Macondo oil well blew out, and July 15, when the well was finally capped, more than 4 million barrels of oil were released into the Gulf of Mexico. Along with it came up to 500,000 metric tons of natural gas, mostly methane. Previously, researchers tracking the fate of those chemicals and their impacts on the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem estimated that most of the methane had been consumed by methane-oxidizing bacteria by the end of August 2010.

30 Sep 2014

Subarctic lakes belch more methane on brighter days

Each summer, frozen ground in Arctic and subarctic regions, called permafrost, thaws and releases accumulated methane. For years, scientists have searched for a clear-cut way to estimate the amount of this potent greenhouse gas that these areas contribute to the atmosphere and the changing climate. Now, they have come one step closer to solving part of the problem.

12 Jun 2014

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