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Re: Methane production
>>The number of cattle that "replaced" them was only a miniscule percentage of
>>the original number of bison.
> Hmm. I'm not certain of
> this; there are supposed
> to be ~100 million head of
> cattle in the US. Presumably
> at least half of these are
> in former bison-range areas...
> (As of 2003, according to this:
> there were 103.9 million
> cows in the US, with Texas,
> North Dakota, South Dakota,
> Minnesota, Montana and Wyoming
> having about 15 million each. So
> this would mean that there were
> actually more cattle than bison
> on the Plains...)
I'm not sure that late 20th Century/early 21st Century data on cattle
populations have any relevence here.
A better question would be: How many cattle were on the Great Plains in 1880?
1920? 1940? etc.
Most climatologists use 1850 as the unofficial "end" of The Little Ice Age.
The bison were reduced to a few hundred individuals by 1880.
This raises another question: How fast will a cause will lead to its associated
(or theoretical) effect. How long is the lag time in the effects from any
methane flux (either increasing CH3 or decreasing CH3)? Further muddying the
problem: Methane gets removed from our atmosphere much MUCH quicker than CO2,
so that's another factor to consider.
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