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Bogs at Hudson Bay Canada
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Bogs at Hudson Bay, Canada

July 14, 2010
Peat-bogs surround Hudson Bay, site of a Canadian northern wetlands study.

Atmospheric chemists from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and elsewhere trekked to a remote and mosquito-infested stretch of Canadian bog, hoping to learn obscure information that may be critical to our understanding of global warming. Computer models suggest that peat-lands are especially sensitive to climate changes. As the Earth heats up, the peat-lands could thaw, releasing huge amounts of methane and related gases into the atmosphere. Canada holds the second largest reserves of peat in the world after Siberia. Since methane levels in the global atmosphere have increased erratically in recent years--sometimes by as much as one percent per year--tracing the origins and behavior of methane is particularly critical to understanding global warming.

NCAR is supported by the National Science Foundation and other federal agencies to provide facilities and support for a wide range of studies in the atmospheric and related sciences. NCAR is managed by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), a nonprofit consortium of universities that grants Ph.D.s in fields related to atmospheric science. UCAR's primary function is managing NCAR. To learn more, visit the NCAR Web site, Here.