Science

Is Salty Snow Affecting Air Pollution In The Arctic?

By Rodney Rafols , Oct 13, 2016 03:00 AM EDT
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Many think that the Arctic is relatively free from pollution. With it far from civilization and with few human traffic, many think that it is virtually untouched. However the Arctic is changing as well, affected by much of the pollution that has become a concern for the Earth for many years.

According to Science Daily, sea ice and snow can contain salt. This salt deposit can alter the way snow acts as a reactor to nitrates. Snow can transform those nitrates into nitrogen oxide, which would then be released back to the atmosphere. Nitrogen oxide is a pollutant which could potentially harm the atmosphere.

To test this, James Donaldson, Karen Morenz and their colleagues made snow in the lab which either contains nitrate alone or has nitrate and salt. When heated using simulated sunlight, the snow that had more salt reformed the nitrate into nitrogen dioxide as compared to snow that had no salt, Eureka Alert reported. A much more dramatic result has been seen when they used real sea salt in the test.

Nitrogen oxide has been associated more with cities, since smog contains it. Having the pollutant in the Arctic could pose as threat to the ecological balance there. An earlier report about the Arctic hitting its lowest sea level recent years has recently been published in iTech Post. In the same report, it has also been said that the Arctic region is getting warmer.

Global warming and climate change pose a threat to the Earth's overall ecological balance. For many years scientists have warned of its effects. Numerous studies and models have been made to show the effects of global warming on the planet, which could eventually alter life as we know it.

Efforts are being made to combat the threat of global warming. The researchers say that sea ice and salty snow should also be considered as factors in the changing ecological system that has resulted because of global warming.

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