Oh, the stupid, it burns.
Helium shortage threatens time-honored Nebraska tradition | Dr. Saturday – Yahoo! Sports http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/ncaaf-dr-saturday/helium-shortage-threatens-time-honored-nebraska-tradition-152527242–ncaaf.html
Face palm! Unfortunately, there’s this nagging little detail about the noble gas, Helium, one of the most stable and chemically inert elements there is.
Helium is a result of radioactive decay. I don’t think global warming is powerful enough to overcome the forces in the nucleus of an atom yet.
On Earth it is thus relatively rare—0.00052% by volume in the atmosphere. Most terrestrial helium present today is created by the natural radioactive decay of heavy radioactive elements (thorium and uranium), as the alpha particles emitted by such decays consist of helium-4 nuclei. This radiogenic helium is trapped with natural gas in concentrations up to 7% by volume, from which it is extracted commercially by a low-temperature separation process called fractional distillation.
How hard could this have been to look up?
BTW Methane CH4 (Natural gas) is lighter than air, maybe they’ll switch to that and endure the caterwauling for releasing a GHG about 20 times more potent than CO2.
h/t to Marc Morano
UPDATE: Maybe the National Helium Reserve will be brought to bear in this crisis. Who knew?
The National Helium Reserve, also known as the Federal Helium Reserve, is a strategic reserve of the United States holding over a billion cubic meters (1E9 m3) of helium gas. The helium is stored at the Cliffside Storage Facility about 12 miles (19 km) northwest of Amarillo, Texas, in a natural geologic gas storage formation, the Bush Dome reservoir. The reserve was established in 1925 as a strategic supply of gas for airships, and in the 1950s became an important source of coolant during the Space Race and Cold War.
h/t to Chris Horner