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科学美国人60秒:喜马拉雅冰川发现工业革命污染灰尘

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Industrial Revolution Pollution Found in Himalayan Glacier
喜马拉雅冰川发现工业革命污染灰尘

 
Near the end of the 18th century, the industrial revolution began to transform Great Britain. Machines replaced hand tools, factories sprouted up in cities and towns, and a sharp uptick in coal combustion polluted the skies. The industrial revolution, and the pollution that followed in its wake, soon spread to the rest of Europe. But some of the smoke and ash didn’t stay there. It also drifted into the upper atmosphere and was blown by winter winds all the way to the frigid Himalayas.
 
18世纪末,工业革命开始改变英国。机器取代了手工工具,工厂在城镇里如雨后春笋般涌现,煤炭燃烧加剧空气污染。工业革命和随之而来的污染很快蔓延到欧洲其他地区。但是一些烟雾和火山灰并没有停留在那里。它还飘到上层大气,被冬季的风一路吹到寒冷的喜马拉雅山。
 
“This ash was transported for thousands of kilometers. And eventually, it was deposited with the snowflakes.”
 
“这些火山灰被运送了数千公里。最后,它和雪花一起沉淀下来了。”
 
Environmental scientist Paolo Gabrielli of the Ohio State University. His team found signatures of airborne pollution from the beginning of the industrial revolution in Tibet—specifically, in ice cores taken from a glacier nearly 24,000 feet above sea level on Mount Shisha Pangma. Such ice cores are like time capsules that contain a record of the contaminants that were mixed in with each year’s snowfall.
 
亥俄州立大学的环境科学家Paolo Gabrielli说道。他的团队在西藏工业革命开始时就发现了空气污染,具体来说,就是从海拔近24000英尺的水沙旁马山冰川采集的冰芯。这样的冰芯就像一个时间胶囊,里面记录着每年降雪时混合的污染物。
 
“And we are able to count annual layers from the surface down to a depth, in this case, of even more than 500 years, covering a time period between the year 1500 A.D. to 1992. At the beginning of our record, we didn’t observe any kind of anthropogenic contribution in our ice. And this lasted until about the year 1780. At that time, we start to observe an enrichment of some trace metals.”
 
“我们能够计算出从地表到深度的年层数,覆盖了从公元1500年到1992年的时间。在这种情况下,甚至超过500年。在记录的开始,我们没有观察到冰上有任何人为行为。这一直持续到1780年。那时,我们开始观察到一些微量金属的富集。”
 
These metals included zinc, chromium, nickel and cadmium.
这些金属包括锌、铬、镍和镉。
 
The industrial revolution also coincided with a rapidly growing global population. The increased demand for food led to the expansion of croplands. Gabrielli thinks that the practice of burning forests to clear land for agriculture may have also contributed to the trace metals found in the ice cores.  
 
工业革命发生的同时,全球人口也在迅速增长。对食物需求的增加导致了农田的扩张。Gabrielli认为,燃烧森林以开垦土地用于农业的做法也可能导致了在冰芯中发现的微量金属。
 
The study is in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
 
这项研究发表在《美国国家科学院院刊》上。
 
This finding is not the first time ice cores have revealed signs of human pollution from the past. A previous study showed that a glacier in the Andes Mountains of South America bore traces of toxic elements like lead and arsenic, deposited during colonial silver mining operations in the 16th century, more than 200 years before the industrial revolution.
 
这一发现并不是冰芯第一次揭示过去人类污染的迹象。此前的一项研究表明,南美洲安第斯山脉的冰川中含有铅和砷等有毒元素的痕迹,这些有毒元素是16世纪殖民时期银矿开采作业时沉积下来的,比工业革命早了200多年。
 
“We have contaminated even the most remote areas of the world. And so, at this time, there is most likely no glacier on earth that does not show a trace of our presence.”
 
“我们甚至污染了世界上最偏远的地区。所以,在这个时候,地球上所有的冰川都有我们污染的痕迹。
 

 
Industrial Revolution Pollution Found in Himalayan Glacier
 
Near the end of the 18th century, the industrial revolution began to transform Great Britain. Machines replaced hand tools, factories sprouted up in cities and towns, and a sharp uptick in coal combustion polluted the skies. The industrial revolution, and the pollution that followed in its wake, soon spread to the rest of Europe. But some of the smoke and ash didn’t stay there. It also drifted into the upper atmosphere and was blown by winter winds all the way to the frigid Himalayas.
 
“This ash was transported for thousands of kilometers. And eventually, it was deposited with the snowflakes.”
 
Environmental scientist Paolo Gabrielli of the Ohio State University. His team found signatures of airborne pollution from the beginning of the industrial revolution in Tibet—specifically, in ice cores taken from a glacier nearly 24,000 feet above sea level on Mount Shisha Pangma. Such ice cores are like time capsules that contain a record of the contaminants that were mixed in with each year’s snowfall.
 
“And we are able to count annual layers from the surface down to a depth, in this case, of even more than 500 years, covering a time period between the year 1500 A.D. to 1992. At the beginning of our record, we didn’t observe any kind of anthropogenic contribution in our ice. And this lasted until about the year 1780. At that time, we start to observe an enrichment of some trace metals.”
 
These metals included zinc, chromium, nickel and cadmium.
 
The industrial revolution also coincided with a rapidly growing global population. The increased demand for food led to the expansion of croplands. Gabrielli thinks that the practice of burning forests to clear land for agriculture may have also contributed to the trace metals found in the ice cores.  
 
The study is in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. [Paolo Gabrielli et al., Early atmospheric contamination on the top of the Himalayas since the onset of the European Industrial Revolution]
 
This finding is not the first time ice cores have revealed signs of human pollution from the past. A previous study showed that a glacier in the Andes Mountains of South America bore traces of toxic elements like lead and arsenic, deposited during colonial silver mining operations in the 16th century, more than 200 years before the industrial revolution.
 
“We have contaminated even the most remote areas of the world. And so, at this time, there is most likely no glacier on earth that does not show a trace of our presence.”


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