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A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences claims that soot may be the reason that glaciers in the Alps shrank.
According to Nature World News, the theory by Thomas Painter and his team explains why the glaciers were melting before a rise in global temperatures.
Back in the 1500s, records show that glaciers in the Alps were suddenly melting by an average of 1 kilometer in the period between 1860 and 1930. The weather during that period was cooling at the time.
Painter, the lead author and a snow and ice scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said, “Something was missing from the equation.”
Painter told NPR, “It dawned on me that industrialization was kicking off then.” He continued, “We have these visions from Charles Dickens and others of that time – the mid 1800s – of a huge amount of soot being pumped out into the atmosphere, not just in England but in France and Germany and Italy.”
So the team decided to analyze the levels of carbon particles in ice core layers, UPI reports.
Soot, also known as black carbon, is a sunlight-absorbing material. If it were to land of the glaciers it would expedite the melting process.
Painter commented, “This [study] result suggests that human influence on glaciers extends back to well before industrial temperature increases.”
image: Wikimedia Commons