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Study reveals that melting glaciers are releasing large amounts of bacteria into rivers and streams

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glacier, science, research, microorganisms

glacier, science, research, microorganisms

As glaciers melt due to human-induced climate change, potentially harmful pathogens and thousands of other microbes can leak into rivers and lakes. As bacteria and algae melt off the surface of glaciers, an average of 650,000 tons of carbon can be released into the northern hemisphere each year.

A new study reveals that melting glacial ice surfaces in the northern hemisphere are releasing large amounts of bacteria. It is necessary, but it can increase the amount of carbon by tens of thousands.

“We think of glaciers as huge reservoirs of frozen water, but the key lesson from this study is that glaciers are also ecosystems themselves,” said Arwyn. Edwardsmicrobiologist and research author at Aberystwyth University, UK.

“There are 200,000 notable watersheds fed by glacial meltwater in the world, some of which are highly sensitive environments with underdeveloped organic carbon and nutrients,” Edwards said. .

When microbes are washed downstream, they can fertilize the ecosystems they come in contact with, the researchers say, but it remains unclear whether any of these are pathogens (microbes with the ability to cause disease). is. And a more hopeful outcome as a result of these microbes is the possibility of new antibiotics.

“We don’t have enough data to understand the value and threat of these organisms. However, there is a need for a risk assessment of these microbes because the risk is not zero,” Edwards said.

But one thing is certain. Scientists predict that glacier runoff from 10 locations in the northern hemisphere will release more than 100,000 tons of bacteria over the next 80 years.

The figure corresponds to 650,000 tons The amount of carbon released into our rivers, lakes, fjords and oceans each year depends on the rate at which glaciers melt and our ability to limit climate change.

“The number of microbes released is closely dependent on how quickly the glacier melts and therefore how much it continues to warm the earth. But the amount of microbes released is enormous even with moderate warming. ” added Edwards.

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When glaciers melt, the heating process increases by releasing pigments that microbes within the glacier use to protect themselves from the sun’s damage, increasing the warming process and destroying habitats.

Scientists in the study compiled the study using meltwater samples from four glaciers in the European Alps, as well as glaciers in the ice sheets of Canada, Sweden, Svalbard, and western Greenland.

The findings were published in Nature Communications Earth and Environment. journal.



https://sputniknews.com/20221122/melting-glaciers-are-releasing-tonnes-of-bacteria-into-rivers-and-streams-study-reveals-1104564469.html Study reveals that melting glaciers are releasing large amounts of bacteria into rivers and streams

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