Study: Fossil Fuels (Not Wildfires) Biggest Source of a Key Arctic Climate Pollutant

This article discusses a study that finds that fossil fuels are the biggest source of Arctic pollution, not wildfires. Five years of testing at sites across the Arctic tracked seasonal fluctuations and sources of black carbon, which contributes to global warming and ice melt.

When soot from fossil fuel combustion and wildfires drifts onto the Arctic ice and snow, it helps feed a spiraling cycle of warming, melting ice and rising sea level.

New research carried out at remote locations across the Arctic shows that most of the soot—also known as black carbon—is coming from fossil fuel sources such as coal power plants, cars and trucks and factories. The findings could help countries begin to control this climate pollutant.

“Some people think it’s biofuels and wildfires, but our main takeaway is that fossil fuels are the main source of black carbon in the Arctic,” said Patrik Winiger of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the lead author of a study published today in the journal Science Advances.

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