The Glacier and ice packs provide a record of human impacts around the world, which scientists study to better understand our history. A team from Ohio State University expects the same thing to happen in the future when ice archaeologists will one day identify the spread of Covid-19 through a sharp drop in pollution from a thin layer of ice. The decline in industrial activity around the world is temporarily clearing the air, with citizens of heavily polluted cities, in general, being able to see distant mountains for the first time.
While some reports of a return to the city of nature are false, others are real and these present the most visible example of an almost biological change that is motivated by the fact that humanity is so at home. Every year as the snow settles on a mountain top or a sheet of ice, its composition is determined by the wind from which it comes, creating a record of the environment.
Professor Lonnie Thompson said in a statement, “These records will be locked and stored on ice.” “And that means 100 or 200 years from now, the ice will show what is in the current environment and it will tell future generations what is happening now.”
Of course, if future generations can read our communications, they may not need to run the ice to understand this year’s events. On the other hand, if digital records prove to be much less durable than medieval manuscripts, the absence of nitrate and sulfate levels in future ice cores could indicate an otherwise forgotten global phenomenon occurring in early 2020.
Thompson added that future glycologists could develop more advanced techniques that would enable them to find their Covid-1p epidemic signatures without their current capabilities. Professor and co-author Ellen Mosley-Thompson said, “It’s like being a detective like we’re with the ice core – if you have all the ice core records and you don’t have human history, you may miss the connection.”
Earlier, the pair observed the release of lead on Greenland’s ice cores in line with the destruction of the Black Death by European industry, as others have done for even earlier misfortunes. Two more are studying direct viral records. In 2018, they published an article in Frontiers in Microbiology on how to find and analyze ice core bacteria.
They are now working on something similar for the viruses, although the possibility of a stork-copy-2 has accumulated in the ice of Greenland or Antarctica and appeared thinner a few centuries later. Thompson issued a warning to future scientists about learning about Covid-19 through the ice, saying: “Of course it assumes that glaciers will continue into the future.” If they do not, it could signal a catastrophe that would make the epidemic relatively small and could possibly be our fault.
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