Melting Himalayan glaciers are releasing decades of accrued pollutants into downstream ecosystems, in accordance with a brand new study.
The brand new analysis in AGU’s Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres finds chemicals utilized in pesticides which were accumulating in glaciers and ice sheets around the globe since the 1940s are being launched as Himalayan glaciers melt because of climate change.
These pollutants are turning up in Himalayan lakes, doubtlessly impacting aquatic life and bioaccumulating in fish at levels which may be poisonous for human consumption.
The brand new study reveals that even the most remote areas of the planet will be repositories for pollutants and emits light on how pollutants travel across the globe, in line with the study’s authors.
The Himalayan glaciers include even higher levels of atmospheric pollutants than glaciers in other parts of the world “due to their proximity to South Asian nations which are a few of the most polluted areas of the world,” stated Xiaoping Wang, a geochemist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing and an author on the brand new research.
Pollutants can travel long distances via the environment on dust particles and water molecules. Previous research has shown that Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets contain high ranges of pollutants that traveled thousands of kilometers before dropping onto the ice and being incorporated into glaciers. This phenomenon of high levels of contamination far from sources of pollution referred to as the Arctic paradox can be seen in high mountain glaciers like those in the Himalaya.