Climate change is an especially difficult problem to contain. For instance, climate change caused by carbon emissions has a snowball effect. Permafrost, which is frozen subsurface soil, doesn’t normally melt, but it does contain a lot of captured carbon.
As global temperatures rise, permafrost in some areas starts to melt, which in turn releases additional carbon into the atmosphere and local water sources. This in turn makes global warming worse and the cycle keeps going. According to Finnish researchers, that’s exactly what’s happening in the Himalayas.
These researchers found that there is an increasing amount of carbon in water from the Tibetan Plateau, the highest plateau in the world known as the water tower of Asia. Approximately 40% of the world population gets its water from the Tibetan Plateau, and until recently, there was a less carbon in that water.
Water quality is an important issue for people everywhere. Nearly half of the world population gets its water from a source that is undergoing rapid change. The researchers have called for more studies on the issue, to determine the extent of the problem and to find ways to fix it.
Local knowledge of climate change, or its effect on water quality, isn’t particularly extensive or well developed. With that many people living in the area, the impact on the climate is huge, but a lot of people don’t know that climate change is directly impacting the quality of their water supply, and even if they do, aren’t well equipped to deal with this issue.
As usual in climate science the answer will likely lie in more research. It will help scientists figure out how to mitigate some of the problem before it gets too bad, and the dissemination of that information will go a long way towards that effort.