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…