Antarctica’s ice sheets contain radioactive chlorine gas 60 years after nuclear tests, study says

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An explosive new research has discovered that just about 60 years after nuclear exams have been carried out within the Pacific Ocean, radioactive chlorine continues to be leaking from ice sheets in Antarctica.

The analysis says that chlorine-36 has been discovered within the Vostok portion of the continent after it traveled there following the weapons testing within the Pacific.

“There isn’t a extra nuclear chlorine-36 within the international ambiance. That’s… why we must always observe pure chlorine-36 ranges in every single place,” mentioned one of many research’s co-authors, Mélanie Baroni, in an announcement.

New analysis finds some glaciers in Antarctica are nonetheless releasing radioactive chlorine-36 created throughout 1950s nuclear weapons exams. (Credit score: NASA/Joe MacGregor)

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Researchers examined two completely different areas in Antarctica to find out the extent of chlorine-36, Talos Dome, in addition to Vostok.

In Talos Dome, the radioactive isotope declined in the interval between 1910 and 1980, whereas Vostok didn’t.

“Within the late 1950s this anthropogenic pulse led to a rise of 36Cl focus at Talos Dome that was greater than 100 instances larger than the pre‐ and submit‐bomb values,” the research summary states. “It’s noteworthy that the ambiance of Vostok stays polluted by anthropogenic 36Cl at present.”

1 / 1Vostok and Talos Dome are both shown on this map of Antarctica. Vostok is still releasing anthropogenic chlorine-36 into the atmosphere. (Credit: AGU)

1 / 1Vostok and Talos Dome are each proven on this map of Antarctica. Vostok continues to be releasing anthropogenic chlorine-36 into the ambiance. (Credit score: AGU)

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The summary continued: “This air pollution outcomes from gaseous H36Cl mobility at low accumulation websites and implies re‐emission of 36Cl from the snowpack that isn’t noticed at Talos Dome.”

On the finish of 1980, chlorine-36 was 4 instances as excessive as anticipated in Talos Dome. By 2008, chlorine-36 ranges at Vostok have been practically 10 instances as what would have been anticipated naturally, the researchers discovered, a sign it was nonetheless being leaked into the surroundings.

The analysis has been revealed within the Journal of Geophysical Analysis: Atmospheres.

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