Melting glaciers is accelerating climate change

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– Glaciers that melt have a multiplier effect on climate change as rivers warm up and fungi grows that breaks down organic matter.

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Experts believe the “unexpected form of climate feedback” means global warming is driving glacier loss and “rapidly” recycling carbon in rivers. The process has been measured in 57 rivers in six mountain ranges across the world in Austria, Ecuador, France, New Zealand, Norway and the US. The melting of mountain glaciers continues to accelerate at an unprecedented rate, with climate change predicted to drive continued ice loss. As global warming speeds up the loss of glaciers, downstream rivers have warmer temperatures and are less prone to sediment movement and variable water flow.

The researchers, led by the University of Leeds, said this is creating favorable conditions for fungi to thrive. The fungi living in the rivers then break down organic matter such as plant leaves and wood, eventually leading to the release of carbon dioxide into the air.