A new study has revealed that snow in the Andes is as pure as the snow in Alaska and Canada Arctic
The results are based on hundreds of tests in the famous South American mountain ranges that span several countries and extend over about 4,300 miles stretch, as reported by Phys.org . These tests were carried out by a team led by researcher Raul Cordero at the University of Santiago to determine the amount of soot deposits in the Andean soils or certain frozen parts of the mountain range.
In a statement, Cordero noted that snow in the Andes is comparable to snow in Alaska and the Canadian Arctic, with less than 1
"The concentration of black carbon deposits in the Andean snow implies a reduction in snow reflectivity or albedo of less than 2.0 percent," added Cordero.
According to Phys.org albedo is the metric used to measure light reflection, and is typically highest in some cases the coldest places on our planet. When the snow in a certain area with a high albedo is clean, it means that most of the sun's energy is reflected and not absorbed, so the snow takes longer to melt. Albedo levels, on the other hand, can be lowered by soot or soot deposits that can form when wood or fossil fuels are burned. This leads to darker, dirtier snow, which tends to melt faster.
– Phys.org (@physorg_com) April 28th 2018
In contrast to pure, pure snow in the Andes, snow and ice in other frozen parts of the world, such as Greenland, were described as darker with higher soot concentrations. In 2014 National Geographic cited a study that pointed out at the time that the soot concentration in Greenland was noticeably higher than five years ago, causing the ice sheets to darken and melt faster. The researchers behind this study warned that the ongoing darkening of the Greenland ice sheet near the end of the current century could lead to a rise in sea level.
Although Cordero emphasized that his team's research could not justify the reduced snow cover in the Andes, and the retreat of mountain glaciers, the new study could be helpful in helping scientists predict the melting rates of snow and ice, two important parameters that influence the rate of global sea level rise.