Bovine burp map helps to help track greenhouse emissions

Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, (CSIRO), has come up with a novel way of tracking emissions of the greenhouse gas, methane; a map detailing the level of cow and sheep burps nationwide.


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The map is based on livestock statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics for over 1300 different areas. Livestock accounts for about 90% of Australia’s methane emissions in the agriculture sector. “Most of the livestock methane comes from cattle and sheep burps, with a small additional source being animal wastes,” a spokesperson from CSIRO Atmospheric Research, Simon Bentley, said on 21 July.

According to CSIRO, the two animals produce three million tonnes of methane each year; the typical cow burps a massive 280 litres of methane each day, whilst sheep produce a more modest 25 litres daily.

“To create the methane map, we calculated how emissions vary from place to place and between seasons,” says Mr Bentley.

Methane emissions are converted to atmospheric concentrations within an atmospheric transport model for verification against levels measured in air at the Cape Grim Baseline Air Pollution Station in Tasmania.

CSIRO also mentioned that its Livestock Industries have been developing a vaccine that reduces gas release from animals.

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