Greenhouse Gases:

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Nitrous Oxide

  Have you ever walked by your neighbor's house and smelled their lawn emitting an odor? You say to yourself, "oh they just put ​​fertilizer down". This is the ammonia in the Nitrogen being released. At ground level, that smell most likely will last a few days.

 Now, take the scale above and think about it in terms of a global scale. That same thing is happening on our farms! They use fertilizer to maximize the crop yield through the growing season. Farms that use a nitrogen- based fertilizer, release a gas molecule called Nitrous Oxide (N2O) into our air. This molecule pollutes our air on a massive global scale. This gas molecule is classified as a top three greenhouse  1 gases.

Did you know that it will remain in the air for about 114 years? It is not talked about much, but it has 300 times the warming potential of CO2.  Industrial Agriculture, Livestock production, growing food to feed these animals to be slaughtered as well as other aspects of food production account for 65% of human generated N2O emissions.  Miller, G. T. and Spoolman, S. (2019). Living In the Environment. Boston, MA. Cengage Learning, Inc.

It's safe to say, this gas is a major factor in determining the Earth's average atmospheric temperature  2 .  

The Changing Nitrogen Cycle 3


Lifetime:  114 Years
100 year Atmospheic Warming Potential  300.0


This chemical compound contributes to the greenhouse effect. As a planet we need to keep our global temperature 1 in a certain range. Too much of this guy bouncing around up there is not good for our Earth! If the Earth gets too hot, a cascade of issues arise.

 A positive feedback loop occurs. But the reality is, there is nothing positive about that!

Methane Technical Data 3


Lifetime:  12 Years
100 year Atmospheic Warming Potential

All that extra Methane and CO2 in my atmosphere makes me hot. It causes me to do strange things. Hurricanes, crazy storms and flooding are the result..
Learn Why I Do This 4

CH4 External Links To Other Websites:

Carbon Dioxide

 60 Year Trend Data

This gas is classified as a major greenhouse  1 gas. It plays a key role in determining the Earth's average atmospheric temperature  2 .  It is produced Naturally and since the Industrial Revolution, from Human Activities.

 These Human Actions include burning of fossil fuels, deforestation and  Industrial Agriculture.

CO2, once made, can remain in the atmosphere for 100 years! Records indicate the levels of CO2 were between 180-280 ppm (parts per million) for 400,000 years. But in 2019 we reached an average of 415 ppm.  According to on May 23.2023 the level is 423 ppm.

Carbon Dioxide Technical Data 4


Lifetime:  100 Years
100 year Atmospheic Warming Potential: 1.0
CO2 External Links To Other Websites:

Industrial Agriculture

Since 1960 our Industrial Agriculture has more than doubled. Our global food consumption of beef and farm crops is a Methane battery that keeps on going. It takes fossil fuels to run agriculture equipment this adds to Carbon Dioxide (CO2) . Cattle produce large amounts of Methane (CH4) while digesting. Use of Inorganic fertilizers pollute our air with Nitrous Oxide (N20). 

Eating Our Way To Extinction 1

For more information, check out this documentry written by Otto Brockway and Directed by Ludo Brockway/Otto Brockway 2021

Industrial Agriculture Trade-Offs

  • Greatly increases yields
  • Efficiency helps preserve wildlife habitat
  • Can support local economies
  • Spurs improvements in agricultural technology
  • Pollutes air, adds CO2, CH4 and N20 greenhouse gases
  • Pollutes water, aquifer depletion, increased runoff and flooding
  • Plays large role in climate change
  • Pesticide residues in water, food and air
  • Livestock wastes in drinking and swimming water
  • Bacterial contamination in meat
  • Killing of wildlife predators to protect livestock
  • Killing of fish from pesticide runoff
  • Conversion of grasslands, forests (deforestation) and wetlands to crop or rangeland
  • Soil erosion, salinization, waterlogging and desertification

Sources - Living in the Environment, G. Tyler Miller/Scott E. Spoolman, National Geographic Learning 2019

Image - Pete McBride/National Geographic Creative/National Geographic Image Collection.

100 year Atmospheric Warming Potential

Over a 100 year span, using CO2 as a baseline, the warming potential (multiplier) of this gas as it effects climate-change.


Carbon Dioxide - Remains in the air for 50-200 years. Using this a a baseline it is set to 1.


Methane - Remains in the air for 12 years and is 34 times as powerful as CO2.


Nitrous Oxide - Remains in the air for 114 years and is 300 times as powerful as CO2.