ABOUT METHANE: Methane sources such as cows, oceans, wetlands, and natural
gas pipes have more impact on the global atmosphere than previously thought.
Methane was released along with oil in the Deepwater Horizon spill and
even seeps naturally from the floor of the Gulf of Mexico. When methane
breaks down chemically in the atmosphere and combines with other chemicals,
it produces ozone, atmospheric scientists say. Like methane, ozone is
also a greenhouse gas, and it is also the main component of smog. Researchers
say that even something as simple as tightening a leaky gas pipe can
make a difference.
ABOUT FLUID DYNAMICS: The study of the physics of fluid flow is called "fluid
dynamics." A fluid is a material that deforms continuously when
sheared. The most common fluids are liquids and gases, however plasmas
and plastics can also be fluids. Understanding the mechanical processes
that underlie fluid flow under different temperatures and pressures is
important to applications such as the aerodynamics of aircraft, automobiles
and ships, the flow of petroleum and water through pipelines, weather
prediction, biological function in the human body, and even traffic engineering.
Fluid dynamics is also essential to supersonic flows such as shock wave
formation, detonation and supersonic transport.
The American Geophysical Union,
the American Physical Society and
the Division of Fluid Dynamics - American
Physical Society contributed to the information contained in the
TV portion of this report.