Researchers have been studying the Greenland ice sheet for a long period of time and a recent study shows something very worrying. A new research published in the Environmental Research Letters journal claims that the Greenland ice sheet is severely contaminated with many globally emitted pollutants (mercury, PCBs, PAHs etc.).
Causes of Greenland’s contamination
Generally, when someone thinks about Greenland, they think of a cold and clean environment. However, it seems that due to industrial activity dangerous pollutants have come in constant with the water and therefore the ice sheets. Much to our surprise, other recent research has shown that the Arctic has fallen victim of high levels of mercury pollution, the Himalaya mountain is home to industrial pollutants and the list goes on.
About the research of the Greenland Ice Sheets
Dr. Aviaja Hauptmann, lead researcher from the University of Greenland stated that due to the globally emitted pollutants accumulated in the area and the frozen environments, the ice sheets have basically turned into a reservoir of toxic chemicals.
A press release after the research contains more worrying information. It seems that multiple ice locations on the Greenland ice sheet were analyzed using metagenomic data and the microbial communities found are overly resistant and degrade contaminants.
There is also another problem which comes with the pollution and that is global warming. Due to the melting of the ice sheets because of the climate change, the consequences are not only the rise of sea levels but also environmental pollution due to accumulated anthropogenic pollutants.
The ice sheet melting can contribute to the rising of the sea level very fast (starting in 2 years approximately for the next 20-40 year). This is an un-denying fact caused by the owl-like geography of the land holding the ice sheet.