Fossil Fuel Emissions Found on Alaska’s Glaciers

Does this undercut greenhouse gas alarmism?

The US Geological Service reports:

A new study concludes that fossil fuel emissions are likely contributors to a substantial amount of organic carbon found on glaciers in Alaska.

Fossil fuel emissions, which contain organic carbon, can speed up the rate of glacier melt when deposited on glacier surfaces. In addition, the organic molecules associated with these deposits can be transported in rivers and streams, affecting downstream aquatic ecosystems. Knowledge of the source and age of organic carbon in glaciers allows for a better understanding of these and other impacts.

Prior research suggested that the main sources of organic carbon in Alaska’s glaciers were from forests and peatlands overrun by glaciers as far back as ten thousand years ago. While old soil and plant material are still possible sources of glacial organic carbon, new research indicates that human-created, or anthropogenic, sources are also important.

“We knew the organic carbon present in Alaska’s glaciers was old, but identifying the sources of this material has been difficult due to the lack of chemical data,” said USGS scientist George Aiken.

While extensive burning of fossil fuels is, geologically speaking, a relatively modern practice, the fuels themselves and the resulting carbon emissions are ancient. This is because the fuels are formed from plants and microorganisms that lived millions of years ago.

“Now we know that a substantial amount of ancient organic matter associated with these and other glaciers is of anthropogenic origin,” continued Aiken…

Read the USGS announcement.

6 thoughts on “Fossil Fuel Emissions Found on Alaska’s Glaciers”

  1. grab for you wallet every time you hear, ‘could be’, ‘may’, ‘predicted’, ‘models’, and as in this article: “likely”.

    You can very nearly tell when fires and such were burned from the carbon isotope ratios. It’s not likely folks are burning wood that’s thousands of years dead or even hundreds of years dead, so the dates are fairly representative of the time frames. Coal soot is an entirely different matter of course and gasoline burning is perhaps not dateable (I defer to anyone with better knowledge on that issue). The whole dark dust deposit thing is a minor issue as fresh snow will cover it, unless there’s a really heavy regular deposit. I believe volcanos deposit WAY more crud than people do.

  2. Indians (native persons) routinely burned their forest and grassland to promote plant growth and rid the area annoying insects and herd animals to Slaughter. Any connection?

  3. So in their press release they make no mention on how they have determined that any carbon is from fossil fuel emissions. They make no mention as to whether their has been in increase in carbon deposits on glaciers. They only make vague statements such as “fossil fuel emissions are likely contributors…” ….. anthropogenic, sources are also important.”.

    I fear it’s more “science” by press release.

  4. I wonder how Aiken can differentiate wildfire products from “fossil fuel”
    products. Man has reduced wildfires by millions of acres a year, but
    still millions burn every year.

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