Perhaps it’s clear to everybody by now that fast-melting glaciers doing their thing is no winning ticket for the environment. But apart from raising the sea level, there’s another aspect that should concern us a lot. Scientists now warn about these glaciers releasing huge amounts of unknown bacteria. Therefore, rivers and streams contaminated with the bacteria could transform icy ecosystems, as a new study reveals, according to ScienceAlert.
Global warming is the cause of rapid glacier melting. Global warming, on the other hand, is the outcome of increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere. Human activities play a key role here – burning fossil fuels and farming represent two examples.
Global warming could lead to hundreds of thousands of tonnes of bacteria
The new study in question estimates that global warming continuing for the next 80 years could result in hundreds of thousands of tonnes of bacteria released into environments downstream of receding glaciers.
Arwyn Edwards, a microbiologist at Aberystwyth University in the UK, stated:
The number of microbes released depends closely on how quickly the glaciers melt, and therefore how much we continue to warm the planet. But the mass of microbes released is vast even with moderate warming.
Tristram Irvine-Fynn, a glaciologist from the same university, explained:
Over the coming decades, the forecast ‘peak water’ from Earth’s mountain glaciers means we need to improve our understanding of the state and fate of ecosystems on the surface of glaciers,
With a better grasp of that picture, we could better predict the effects of climate change on glacial surfaces and catchment biogeochemistry.
The good news, according to other sources, is that everybody can contribute to limiting climate change. Each of us can make a difference by choosing how to travel, what to eat, and more.
The new research was published in Communications Earth & Environment