Glaciers’ Role in Global Carbon Cycle
Melting glaciers are not just impacting sea level, they are also affecting the flow of organic carbon to the world’s oceans, according to new research that provides the first ever global-scale estimates for the storage and release of organic carbon from glaciers. The research, published in the Jan. 19 issue of Nature Geoscience, is crucial to better understand the role glaciers play in the global carbon cycle, especially as climate warming continues to reduce glacier ice stores and release ice-locked organic carbon into downstream freshwater and marine ecosystems. “This research makes it clear that glaciers represent a substantial reservoir of organic carbon,” said Eran Hood, the lead author on the paper and UAS Professor of Environmental Science. “As a result, the loss of glacier mass worldwide, along with the corresponding release of carbon, will affect high-latitude marine ecosystems, particularly those surrounding the major ice sheets that now receive fairly limited land-to-ocean fluxes of organic carbon.” This project highlights ongoing collaboration between academic and federal research and the transformative results that stem from such funding partnerships. Other institutions involved in the research include Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, and Florida State University.
This story was published in several international press outlets. Here’s the one from Alaska Dispatch News.