Heat traps manure fumes, leaves farmer and cows dead

Cheryl Santa Maria, The Weather Network; 17 August 2016

Warm temperatures in Wisconsin’s upper atmosphere recently created a stagnant air mass that trapped hot air and toxic manure fumes over a farm, leaving a 29-year-old farmer and 13 of his cows dead.

The incident occurred at Biadasz Farm near Amherst.

Michael Biadasz was found dead Monday by workers who had arrived to remove manure from a tank on the property.

Coroner Scott Rifleman told the Associated Press he was “overcome” by methane or sulfur oxide present in the manure.

In addition to the 13 cows that died, others became ill.

This isn’t the first time manure and warm weather have combined to create health issues this summer.

On July 5, record-setting heat had settled into the community of Throop, NY — and that, combined with a lack of moisture, caused a pile of horse manure to spontaneously combust into flames.

In order for an area to experience good air quality, temperatures need to cool as they rise. That creates a good environment for pollution to disperse. Warm temperatures in the upper atmosphere can create a heat-trapping dome, making it difficult for toxic fumes — like the ones present in manure — to disperse.
 
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