Year 2, Month 8, Day 10: Revenge of the Poles

Oh, this is totally gross. The New York Times for July 25 reports that:

Warming in the Arctic is causing the release of toxic chemicals long trapped in the region’s snow, ice, ocean and soil, according to a new study.

Researchers from Canada, China and Norway say their work provides the first evidence that some persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are being “remobilized” into the Arctic atmosphere.

“Our results indicate that a wide range of POPs have been remobilized into the Arctic atmosphere over the past two decades as a result of climate change, confirming that Arctic warming could undermine global efforts to reduce environmental and human exposure to these toxic chemicals,” write the scientists, whose analysis was published yesterday in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Yecccch. Sent July 25:

For centuries, humans have seen the Polar zones as places of mystery. Explorers, novelists, storytellers and scientists have all sought the secrets to be found beneath the accumulated ice and snow. It turns out that might not be such a good idea. In an appalling side-effect of global warming, the melting ice is releasing significant doses of toxic chemicals back into circulation. This unintended consequence of our greenhouse gas emissions is sadly ironic — the Earth almost seems to be “striking back.” As we face a future on a drastically altered planet, we will discover that no aspect of our species’ history of waste and pollution can ever be truly buried; eventually we will no longer be able to avoid a cleanup task of monumental proportions. It behooves us to ensure that the toxic effluvium of our time not blight the lives of future generations.

Warren Senders

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