Soot hastens snowmelt on Tibetan Plateau | Science News


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Soot hastens snowmelt on Tibetan Plateau

Study suggests black carbon pollution has greater effect than carbon dioxide on region’s ice

3:46pm, March 8, 2011

In high-elevation snowy regions, the warming effects of greenhouse gases pale in comparison to those triggered by soot, new computer calculations show. The finding could help explain the accelerating pace of melting on the Tibetan Plateau, which holds the world’s largest reservoir of ice outside of the polar regions.

Located north of the Himalayan range, the plateau’s spring meltwater feeds rivers that ultimately slake much of Asia’s thirst. In recent years, spring melting has been starting earlier, triggering downstream floods and shortening the time that irrigation water is available to farmers.

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