A long-term study of the snowpack in Austria shows that global pollution-reduction efforts have paid off with big reductions in sulfate and nitrate concentrations. The pollutants are primarily from industrial sources and from cars and trucks and are carried to the Alps by prevailing winds. As snow and glacier ice melt, the pollutants run off into rivers and streams.
The study sites have been monitored since the 1980s and the results how that sulfate pollution has been reduced by 70 percent, while nitrate levels are down about 30 percent.
Swiss researchers taking a close look at the effect of global warming say that plants, birds and butterflies sprinted uphill by anywhere from eight to 42 meters between 2003 and 2010 — a significant shift in a very short time, according to the study published in the online journal Plos One. Other research has shown that, in general, European bird and butterfly communities have moved on average 37 and 114 kilometers to the north, respectively. Continue reading “Alpine plants and animals sprinting uphill in response to global warming”