Some people refer to the Himalaya-Tibetan Plateau as the “third pole” because the region has the largest reserve of glacial snow and ice outside of the north and south poles.
Some people refer to the Himalaya-Tibetan Plateau as the “third pole” because the region has the largest reserve of glacial snow and ice outside of the north and south poles. The glaciers, which are extremely sensitive to climate change and human influence, have been retreating over the past decade. Now, researchers reporting in ACS’ Environmental Science & Technology Letters have detected light-absorbing “tarballs” in the Himalayan atmosphere, which could contribute to glacial melt.
Burning biomass or fossil fuels releases light-absorbing, carbonaceous particles that can deposit on snow and ice, possibly hastening the melting of glaciers. Previous research has shown that one type of particle, called black carbon, can be transported long distances by wind to the Himalayan atmosphere. But much less is known about the presence of brown carbon, a particle that can form tarballs –– small, viscous spheres consisting of carbon, oxygen and small amounts of nitrogen, sulfur and potassium. Weijun Li and colleagues wanted to see what types of individual aerosol particles were present in air samples taken at a remote, high-altitude research station on the northern slope of the Himalayas.
Read more at American Chemical Society
Photo Credit: chiaoyinanita via Pixabay