Friday, April 10, 2009
Cow farts for global warming study
Researchers from Argentina were surprised to find that a single 550-kg cow produces between 800 to 1,000 liters of emissions each day.
Argentina has more than 55 million cows, making it a leading producer of beef. In the study, the scientists were surprised to discover that a standard 550-kg cow produces between 800 to 1,000 liters of emissions, including methane, each day.
Further, methane - which is also released from landfills, coal mines and leaking gas pipes - is 23 times more effective than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere.
"When we got the first results, we were surprised," said Guillermo Berra, a researcher at the National Institute of Agricultural Technology in Argentina. "Thirty percent of Argentina´s (total greenhouse) emissions could be generated by cattle."
In their study, the researchers attached balloon-like plastic packs to the backs of at least 10 cows. A tube running to the animals´ stomachs collected the gas inside the backpacks, which were then hung from the roof of the corral for analysis.