Molecular Advent Day 23: Carbon Dioxide

“Change the atmosphere

Shake up the stratosphere”

Cows farting often becomes a topic of conversation in Nano Towers and I thought it would be fun to bring the topic to you, dear readers.

When a cow farts it releases methane, a greenhouse gas. However, I wish to dispel the myth that it just comes from cows farting, in fact, over 95% of the methane that cows release is from burping rather than farting! Try and find out the other sources of methane on the planet.

methane-cow-fart

Methane is a very simple molecule consisting of one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms. It wiggles and jiggles around as a gas at the temperatures and pressure we experience on earth.

Just like many of the molecules in this molecular advent, methane has a light and a dark side. Methane is also known as the main constituent of natural gas – you light it and it burns to give heat or power, which we find useful, particularly with the type of lives we enjoy living as humans, however, this burning, also known as combustion, gives off carbon dioxide (another greenhouse gas).

Methane itself is a greenhouse gas – in fact it is a much stronger greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide (SPOILER ALERT: which you will find out about in tomorrow’s blog). Greenhouse gases are gases that cause our earth’s atmosphere to trap heat – which is a good and a bad thing, if we didn’t trap the sun’s heat the earth would not be able to support life, which thrives at the earth’s current average temperatures, but we have all heard about the negative impacts of global warming which is getting out of control.

Do you know how greenhouse gases work? Tune in to our final Molecular Advent blog tomorrow to find out more and do some research of your own. The clue is in the wiggling and jiggling!

methane-atmospheric-layers