Study: Pollutants From Oilsands Potentially Impacting Weather Patterns

A multitude of pollutants are being found in the snow around the Athabasca Oilsands.

Multiple post-secondary institutions researched fresh snow around 25 km away from different sites and compared it to snow taken from the middle of a city to determine what kind of impact industry is having on the atmosphere.

Snow was studied since it’s able to collect air pollutants.

They found there was an increased amount of harmful nano-particles in the snow around the oilsands which was causing a process called ice nucleation.

Lead Author Parisa Ariya tells Mix News this process can alter weather patterns.

“The clouds on the planetary atmosphere should freeze at around -38 degrees. Not only natural particles but many of the human-based particles, they can make it go faster and by doing that it changes radiation, cloud coverage, and so forth.”

Ariya notes ice nucleation can potentially make it harder to freeze and at the same time easier, all depending on the type of particles in the air. The study discovered evidence of chromium, nickel, and copper contaminants in the snow around the site projects.

These particles, through the ice nucleation process, can impact the amount of ice, precipitation, cloud coverage, and radiation we receive.

The World Health Organization has also determined nano-particle pollution as a major challenge in climate change.

Meanwhile, the pollutants found could also be harmful to our health.

“Some of them are not bad at all but some of them have potential adverse health effects, we call them emerging contaminants – so this is something to be concerned about,” added Ariya.

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