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Name: Louise W.
Status: Student
Age: 20s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: July 17, 2003


Question:
Despite the grotesque deforestation for cattle farming, I wonder if you could tell me if the methane produced by the animals while living is thought to be a significant contributor to global warming.



Replies:
Dear Louise-

There are many sources for methane, with livestock production making up a significant fraction of the total methane production from anthropogenic sources. The EPA estimates that, for the U.S., about 25 percent of the total methane generated from anthropogentic sources comes from domesticated livestock and their manure. Here are a couple of good web sites concerning methane production:

http://www.epa.gov/ghginfo/topics/topic4.htm
http://www.epa.gov/ghginfo/topics/topic2.htm#anthro

Methane only comprises about 13 percent of the 4 greenhouse gases along with water vapor that create the natural greenhouse effect. Carbon dioxide comprises about 76 percent of the total. Here is another link you might find useful:

http://globalwarming.enviroweb.org/ishappening/sources/index.html

Good luck on your study of greenhouse gases and global warming...!

Wendell Bechtold, meteorologist
Forecaster, National Weather Service
Weather Forecast Office, St. Louis, MO



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