From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : brown , black carbon
Mains level : Glacial melting of himalayas
A study has highlighted that brown carbon ‘tarballs’ that fasten the glacial melting has been found in the Himalayan atmosphere.
We are still to find a solution for the ill-fated Delhi air, and here comes another blow from the stubble burnings.
What are Brown Carbon ‘Tarballs’?
- Tarballs are small light-absorbing, carbonaceous particles formed due to burning of biomass or fossil fuels that deposit on snow and ice.
- They are formed from brown carbon, emitted during the burning of fossil fuels.
- The median sizes of externally mixed tarballs and internally mixed tarballs were 213 and 348 nanometre respectively.
- Primary brown carbon (BrC) co-emitted with black carbon (BC) from biomass burning is an important light-absorbing carbonaceous aerosol.
- The black carbon from the Indo-Gangetic Plain can reach the Himalaya region and influence glacial melting and climatic change.
Highlights of the study
- Until now, black carbon was found to be transported long distances by the wind to the Himalayan atmosphere.
- The study revealed that a dense array of active fire spots — corresponding to large-scale wheat-residue burning on the Indo-Gangetic Plain — occurred along the pathways of Himalaya.
- The percentage of the tarballs increased on days of higher levels of pollution and could contribute to the hastening of glacial melt and global warming.
- The researchers concluded that tarballs from long-range transport can be an important factor in the climatic effect and would correspond to a substantial influence on glacial melting in the Himalaya region.