Glaciers melting could release harmful bacterial pathogens: Report

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Photo by Jeremy Bishop

Scientists warn climate change could result in releasing 100,000 tonnes of microbes into rivers and lakes 

The rising temperatures due to climate change and the resulting melting of glaciers across the world could release harmful pathogens into the environment. According to a report in the BBC on Thursday, November 17, researchers at the Aberystwyth University said, immediate action is required to stop global warming as it could affect the quality of water.  

According to a report by a team at the University, the melting of glaciers could result in the release of over 100,000 tonnes of microbes including bacteria within the next 80 years. The report was compiled after the team studied meltwater from eight different glaciers located in Europe, North America and Greenland.  

“As the flow of microbes into rivers, lakes, fjords and seas increases, there could be “significant” impacts for water quality”, said Dr Arwyn Edwards, a microbiologist while referring to the study, the report states. He said, “Globally there are 200,000 catchments of note that are fed by glacial meltwater and some of these are very sensitive environments that are poorly developed in terms of organic carbon and nutrients”.  

Edwards also added, this could significantly impact the quality of water as the microbes flow from the glaciers into rivers, fjords and the sea increases.  

The report also added, the calculations made by the university team are based on moderate warning scenarios of a global temperature rise by 2 Celsius and 3 Celsius by 2100.


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