Fossil Fuel Emissions Found on Alaska’s Glaciers
An Ancient (but Modern) Source of Carbon
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.