Nov 21

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Surprising Pollutant: Gassy Stream Bubbles

Gassy bubbles in freshwater streams are natural, lovely, and—wait for it—may also be contributing to climate change. Listen up:

Tiny methane bubbles add up… (via B. Larrick)

When it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, human activities are the largest source of methane, but there are also natural culprits—and new research suggests they include streams.

Methane is a byproduct of bacteria that live in river sediments. According to John Crawford of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the gas dissolves in water, and is emitted via bubbles.

“All you need is something like a stick or your foot, and you can stir up these sediments and see these bubbles just erupting from the streambeds,” he explains.

Crawford says even if streams are not a large source of methane, they should still be included in climate models.

“It’s going to be really hard, if not impossible, to get a model that’s running properly unless you know all the components,” Crawford states.

So let it be noted—even minuscule bubbles should be accounted for when it comes to climate change.

Get schooled:

The fine print:


Permanent link to this article: http://www.currentcast.org/water-and-climate-change/stream-bubbles/