Missing from climate models: Unaccounted for Arctic microbes appear to be speeding up glacier melting

Watts Up With That?

From the SOCIETY FOR GENERAL MICROBIOLOGY and the “department of robusted models” comes this

Today, at the Microbiology Society’s Annual Conference in Liverpool, scientists will reveal how Arctic microbes are increasing the rate at which glaciers melt, in a process not accounted for in current climate change models.

A crevasse created by water drilling a hole tens of meters deep into the glacier ice. A layer of dark cryoconite surrounds it. Langjökull glacier. July 2006. Image: Ville Miettinen from Helsinki, Finland - Crevasse, CC BY 2.0 A crevasse created by water drilling a hole tens of meters deep into the glacier ice. A layer of dark cryoconite surrounds it. Langjökull glacier. July 2006. Image: Ville Miettinen from Helsinki, Finland – Crevasse, CC BY 2.0

The research, led by Dr Arwyn Edwards from Aberystwyth University, focuses on a grainy, soil-like substance found on the surface of Arctic ice known as cryoconite, which is made of dust and industrial soot glued together by photosynthetic bacteria. Working on Greenland’s ice sheet, the team showed that cryoconite darkens the surface of the ice, causing it to melt and make small water-filled holes…

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