nitrous oxide

Synonyms

NOx

Definition

One of the six types of greenhouse gases to be curbed under the Kyoto Protocol. The main anthropogenic source of nitrous oxide is agriculture (soil and animal manure management), but important contributions also come from sewage treatment, combustion of fossil fuel, and chemical industrial processes. Nitrous oxide is also produced naturally from a wide variety of biological sources in soil and water, particularly microbial action in wet tropical forests. (IPCC)

Wikipedia definition:

Nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, nitrous, nitro, or NOS  is a chemical compound with the formula N2O. It is an oxide of nitrogen. At room temperature, it is a colorless, non-flammable gas, with a slightly sweet odor and taste. It is used in surgery and dentistry for its anaesthetic and analgesic effects. It is known as "laughing gas" due to the euphoric effects of inhaling it, a property that has led to its recreational use as a dissociative anaesthetic. It is also used as an oxidizer in rocket propellants, and in motor racing to increase the power output of engines. At elevated temperatures, nitrous oxide is a powerful oxidizer similar to molecular oxygen. Nitrous oxide gives rise to nitric oxide (NO) on reaction with oxygen atoms, and this NO in turn reacts with ozone. As a result, it is the main naturally occurring regulator of stratospheric ozone. It is also a major greenhouse gas and air pollutant. Considered over a 100-year period, it is calculated to have between 265 and 310 times more impact per unit mass (global-warming potential) than carbon dioxide. It is on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines, the most important medications needed in a health system.

Source: Wikipedia - Nitrous oxide