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14 Sep

Confirmed: Atmospheric helium levels are rising

A by-product released by use of fossil fuels has been increasing since 1974 Scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego used an unprecedented technique to detect that levels of helium are rising in the atmosphere, resolving an issue that has lingered among atmospheric chemists for decades. The atmospheric abundance of the 4-helium (4He) isotope is rising because 4He is released during the burning and extraction of fossil fuels. The researchers report that it is increasing at a very small but, for the first time, clearly measurable rate. The 4He isotope itself does not add to the greenhouse effect that is making the planet warmer, but measures of it could serve as indirect markers of fossil-fuel use. The National Science Foundation-supported...
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