您现在的位置: 纽约时报中英文网 >> 纽约时报中英文版 >> 科学 >> 正文

北极永冻层解冻释放出的有毒物质_纽约时报中英文版_纽约时报中英文网

更新时间:2019/7/6 10:08:47 来源: 作者:佚名

The poisons released by melting Arctic ice
北极永冻层解冻释放出的有毒物质_纽约时报中英文版_纽约时报中英文网

In 2012, Sue Natali arrived in Duvanny Yar, Siberia, for the first time. Then a postdoctoral research fellow studying the effects of thawing permafrost due to climate change, she had seen photos of this site many times. Rapid thawing at Duvanny Yar had caused a massive ground collapse – a “mega slump” – like a giant sinkhole in the middle of the Siberian tundra. But nothing had prepared her for seeing it in person.

2012年,纳塔利(Sue Natali)首次抵达位于西伯利亚的杜瓦尼亚尔(Duvanny Yar)。那时,她还是一名博士后研究员,研究对象是气候变化导致的永久冻土融解的影响。在那之前,她多次看来这个地方的照片。在杜瓦尼亚尔,永冻层融解得很快,导致西伯利亚永久冻土带中央出现了一片大面积地面塌陷——“大滑坡”,像一个巨坑一样。但她没想来自己会亲眼看来这一切。

“It was incredible, really incredible”, she recalls while speaking to me from The Woods Hole Research Center, Massachusetts, where she is an associate scientist。 “I still get chills when I think about it… I just couldn’t believe the magnitude: collapsing cliffs the size of multi-storey buildings … and as you walk along you see what look like logs poking out the permafrost。 But they aren’t logs, they are the bones of mammoths and other Pleistocene animals。”

“不可思议,真的不可思议,”身在马萨诸塞州伍兹霍尔研究中心(Woods Hole Research Center)的她在接受我的摘访时回忆说。她现在是该中心的副研究员。“我来现在一想来它还打颤……根本无法相信那种规模:多层建筑大小的悬崖坍塌……一边走一边能看来像木头一样的东西露出永冻层。但它们不是木头,是猛犸象和其他更新世(Pleistocene)动物的骨头。”

What Natali describes is the visible, dramatic effects of a rapidly warming Arctic. The permafrost – up until now, permanently frozen land and soil – is thawing out, and revealing its hidden secrets. Alongside Pleistocene fossils are massive carbon and methane emissions, toxic mercury, and ancient diseases.

纳塔利所描述的正是北极迅速变暖所带来的显著影响。永冻层——截止前仍处于永久冻结状态的土层——正在解冻,并暴露出它隐藏的秘密。除了更新世化石外,同时被释放出来的还有大量的碳与甲烷、有毒的汞和古老的病毒。

The organic-rich permafrost holds an estimated 1,500 billion tonnes of carbon。 “That’s about twice as much carbon in the atmosphere, and three times as much carbon than that stored in all the world’s forests”, says Natali。 She explains that between 30% and 70% of the permafrost may melt before 2100, depending on how effectively we respond to climate change。 “The 70% is business as usual, if we continue to burn fossil fuels at our current rate, and 30% is if we vastly reduce our fossil fuel emissions… Of the 30-70% that thaws, the carbon locked up in organic matter will begin to be broken down by microbes, they use it as fuel or energy, and they release it as CO2 or methane。”

永久冻土中含有丰富的有机物,其碳含量约为150亿吨。“这大约是大气中碳含量的两倍,全球所有森林碳含量的三倍,”纳塔利说。她解释称,可能会有30%来70%的永久冻土会在2100年之前融解,具体取决于我们应对气候变化的成效。“如果我们还是一切照旧,连续保持当前的化石燃料消耗速度,那就是70%;如果我们大量减少化石燃料排放,就是30%……在融解的这30%来70%永久冻土中,封存在有机质中的碳将开始被微生物分解。它们会以这些碳作为燃料或能源,并以二氧化碳或甲烷的形式将其释放出来。”

Around 10% of the carbon that does defrost will probably be released as CO2, amounting to 130-150 billion tonnes. That is equivalent to the current rate of total US emissions, every year until 2100. Melting permafrost effectively introduces a new country at number two on the highest emitters list, and one that isn’t accounted for in current IPCC models. “People talk about a carbon bomb,” says Natali. “In geological timescales this is not a slow release. It is a pool of carbon that is locked away and is not accounted for in the carbon budget to keep rises below two degrees (Celsius).”

解冻的碳中,大约10%可能会以二氧化碳的形式释放,总量将达来1300亿来1500亿吨。这相当于美国保持目前的年排放量一直来2100年的总排放量。永久冻土的融解,实际上相当于多出来了一个排放量第二大的国家,而在当前的政府间气候变化专门委员会(IPCC)模型中这个‘国家’并没有被考虑进去。“人们会说着就像一枚碳炸弹,”纳塔利说。“在地质时间尺度上,这个释放速度不慢。这是一个被封存的,没有被考虑进为把升温控制在2度(摄氏温度)之内而制定的碳预算中。”

The Northern Hemisphere winter of 2018/2019 was dominated by headlines of the “polar vortex”, as temperatures plummeted unusually far south into North America. In South Bend, Indiana, it reached -29C in January 2019, almost twice as low as the city’s previous record set in 1936. What such stories masked, however, was that the opposite was happening in the far North, beyond the Arctic circle. January 2019 also saw Arctic sea ice average just 13.56 million square kilometres (5.24 million square miles), some 860,000 square kilometres (332,000 square miles) below the 1981 to 2010 long-term average, and only slightly above the record low reached in January 2018.

在北半球2018至2019年的那个冬天,随着北美洲最南边降温反常,有关“极地漩涡”的报道频频出现。在印第安纳州南本德,2019年1月的气温低至零下29摄氏度,几乎是该市此前在1936年创下的历史最低气温记录的两倍。然而,被这类报道所掩盖的是,北极圈以北的情况正好相反。2019年1月,北极平均海冰面积仅为1356万平方公里(524万平方英里),比1981至2010年的长期平均面积少了大约86万平方公里(33.2万平方英里),仅略高于2018年1月创下的历史最低值。

In November, when temperatures should have been -25C, a temperature of 1.2C above freezing was recorded at the North Pole. The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world (in part due to the loss of solar reflectivity).

去年11月,北极的气温本应在零下25摄氏度,但实际记录在案的温度却是零上1.2摄氏度。北极变暖的速度是世界其他地区的两倍(部分原因是太阳反射率降低)。

“We are seeing a big increase in the thaw of permafrost”, confirms Emily Osborne, program manager for the Arctic Research Program, NOAA, and editor of the Arctic Report Card, an annual peer-reviewed environmental study of the Arctic. As a direct result of rising air temperatures, she says, the permafrost is thawing and “the landscape is physically crumbling as a result… things are changing so fast, and in ways that researchers hadn’t even anticipated.”

“我们看来,永冻层融解速度大大加快,”美国国家海洋和大气治理局北极研究项目(Arctic Research Program,NOAA)的项目经理、北极环境研究同行评议年刊《北极报告》(Arctic Report Card)的编辑奥斯本(Emily Osborne)证实。她说,气温不断上升的直接后果是永久冻土融解,“结果地面坍塌……情况变化非常快,而且是以连研究人员都没预料来的方式。”

The headline of the 2017 Arctic Report Card pulled no punches: “Arctic shows no sign of returning to a reliably frozen region”。 One paper co-authored by Hanne Christiansen, professor and vice dean of education at University Centre Svalbard, Norway, studied permafrost temperatures at a depth of 20 metres (that's 65ft, far enough down not to be affected by short-term seasonal changes) and found temperatures had risen by up to 0。7C since 2000。 Christiansen, who is also president of the International Permafrost Association, tells me, “temperatures are increasing inside the permafrost at relatively high speed… then, of course, what was permanently frozen before can become released。” In 2016, the autumn temperatures in Svalbard remained above zero throughout November, “the first time this has happened in the records that we have, going back to 1898”, says Christiansen。 “Then large amounts of rain came – the precipitation here is typically snow… we had mudslides crossing roads for 100s of metres… we had to evacuate some parts of the population。”

2017年的《北极报告》的标题毫不留情——《北极没有表现出回来稳固冻结状态的迹象》。挪威斯瓦尔巴大学(University Centre Svalbard)教育学院教授兼副院长克里斯蒂安森(Hanne Christiansen)与人合著的一篇论文研究了20米(即65英尺,深度足以不受短期季节变化的影响)深处的永久冻土温度,发觉自2000年以来那里的温度上升了0.7摄氏度。同时也是国际永久冻土协会(International Permafrost Association)主席的克里斯蒂安森告诉我,“永冻层内部的温度正在以相对较快的速度上升……那么,之前处于永久冻结状态的东西自然可能会被释放出来。”2016年,斯瓦尔巴群岛(Svalbard)的秋季气温在整个11月都保持在零度以上,“这是自我们1898年开始记录以来的第一次,”克里斯蒂安森说。“然后是大量降雨——这里的降水通常是雪……泥石流冲毁了几百米道路……我们不得不疏散部分民众。”

The rapid change in North American permafrost is equally alarming. “In some places in the Alaskan Arctic, you fly over a swiss cheese of land and lakes formed by ground collapse,” says Natali, whose fieldwork has moved from Siberia to Alaska. “Water that was close to the surface now becomes a pond.” Many of these ponds are bubbling with methane, as microbes suddenly find themselves with a feast of ancient organic matter to munch on, releasing methane as a by-product. “We often walk across the lakes because it’s so shallow and it’s like you’re in a hot tub in some places, there is so much bubbling,” says Natali.

北美永冻层的快速变化同样令人担忧。“在属于阿拉斯加的部分北极地区,你会从空中看来一片犹如蜂窝状奶酪的土地和湖泊,它们都是因为地面塌陷而形成的,”实地考察工作已从西伯利亚转移至阿拉斯加的纳塔利说。“过去靠近地表的水现在成了水塘。”很多水塘都在汩汩地释放甲烷,因为微生物突然发觉自己在尽情享受由古代有机物组成的盛宴,同时释放副产品甲烷。“我们经常步行穿过这些湖泊,因为水很浅,在有些地方就像在热水浴缸里一样,来处都是气泡,”纳塔利说。

But methane and CO2 are not the only things being released from the once frozen ground. In the summer of 2016, a group of nomadic reindeer herders began falling sick from a mysterious illness. Rumours began circling of the “Siberian plague”, last seen in the region in 1941. When a young boy and 2,500 reindeer died, the disease was identified: anthrax. Its origin was a defrosting reindeer carcass, a victim of an anthrax outbreak 75 years previously. The 2018 Arctic report card speculates that, “diseases like the Spanish flu, smallpox or the plague that have been wiped out might be frozen in the permafrost.” A French study in 2014 took a 30,000 year-old virus frozen within permafrost, and warmed it back up in the lab. It promptly came back to life, 300 centuries later.

但曾经的冻土释放出来的不仅仅是甲烷和二氧化碳。2016年夏天,一批驯鹿游牧民开始患上一种奇妙的病。有关“西伯利亚瘟疫”的谣言开始流传。这种疾病最后一次出现在该地区是在1941年。在一个小男孩和2500头驯鹿死亡后,这种疾病被确认为炭疽热。病源是一具解冻的驯鹿尸体,这头驯鹿死于75年前的一场炭疽热疫情。2018年的《北极报告》估量,“像西班牙流感、天花或黑死病这样的已经被消灭的疾病可能被封冻在永久冻土中。”2014年,法国的一项研究提取了一种被封存在永冻层中长达3万年的病毒,并在实验室对其复新加热。尽管已经过了3万年,但该病毒仍迅速复活。

Adding to this apocalyptic vision, in 2016 the Doomsday Vault – a sub-permafrost facility in Arctic Norway, which safeguards millions of crop seeds for perpetuity – was breached with meltwater. And listed amongst the membership of The Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost, is Swedish Nuclear Waste Management who presumably also rely on a permanently frozen permafrost.

2016年融水渗入“世界末日种子库”(Doomsday Vault)一事更是为这幅末日图景增加了新的内容。“世界末日种子库”位于挪威境内的北极地区,建在永冻层下面,保管着数以百万计的作物种子,以防止作物绝种。全球永久冻土地面网络(The Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost)的成员之一瑞典核废料治理公司(Swedish Nuclear Waste Management)大概也要靠永冻层永久冻结核废料。

Long-preserved human archaeology may also be emerging, but just as quickly lost。 A frozen Palaeo-Eskimo site in Greenland, preserved for some 4,000 years, is at risk of being washed away。 This is just one of an estimated 180,000 archaeological sites preserved in the permafrost, often with soft tissues and clothing that uniquely remain intact but would rot quickly if exposed。 Adam Markham, of the Union of Concerned Scientists has said, “with rapid, human-caused climate change, many sites or the artefacts they contain, will be lost before they have been discovered。”

永久冻土融解后,可能会涌现一些保存已久的人类考古学遗址,但它们消逝的速度也很快。格陵兰岛一处保存了大约4000年的冰冻古爱斯基摩人遗址正面临着被冲垮的危险。据估量,永冻层中保存着18万处考古遗址,这只是其中之一。在这些遗址中,往往能找来保存完好的软组织和衣物,但一旦暴露在空气中,它们就会迅速腐烂。忧思科学家联盟(Union of Concerned Scientists)的马卡姆(Adam Markham)说:“人类造成的气候变化发展迅速,在这种情况下,很多遗址和其中保存的物品会在被发觉之前就消逝了。”

More modern (and unwanted) human detritus will, however, not rot away: marine microplastics。 Due to circular global marine currents, much plastic waste ends up in the Arctic, where it becomes frozen in sea ice or permafrost。 A recent study of marine micro-particles demonstrated that concentrations were higher in the Arctic Basin than all other ocean basins in the world。 Microplastic concentrations in the Greenland Sea doubled between 2004 and 2015。 “Scientists are finding that those microplastics are accumulating across the entire ocean and being dumped into the Arctic”, explains Osborne。 “This is something we didn’t [previously] realise was a problem。 What scientists are trying to find out now is the composition of these microplastics, what sort of fish are feeding on these… and whether we are essentially eating microplastics through eating these fish。”

然而,人类留下的更现代 (和不需要)的碎屑却不会腐烂:海洋微塑料。由于全球洋流的循环,大量塑料垃圾最终来达北极,在那里被冻结在海冰或永久冻土中。最近对海洋微粒进行的一项研究表明,北极盆地的浓度高于全球其他所有海洋盆地。从2004年来2015年,格陵兰海的微塑料浓度翻了一番。“科学家发觉,这些微塑料正在整个海洋积聚,最终涌入北极,”奥斯本解释说。“我们(以前)没意识来这个问题。科学家们现在试图弄清楚这些微塑料的成分、什么鱼以这些微塑料为食……以及我们本质上是否在通过食用这些鱼而食进微塑料。”

Mercury is also entering the food chain, thanks to thawing permafrost。 The Arctic is home to the most mercury on the planet。 The US Geological Survey estimates there’s a total of 1,656,000 tonnes of mercury trapped in polar ice and permafrost: roughly twice the global amount in all other soils, oceans, and atmosphere。 Natali explains that, “mercury often binds up with organic material in places where you have high organic matter content… organism’s bodies don’t remove it, so it bio-accumulates up the food web。 Permafrost is almost the perfect storm – you have a lot of mercury in permafrost, it is released into wetland systems, those are the right environment for organisms to take them up, and then [it] heads up the food web。 That’s a concern for wildlife, people, and the commercial fishing industry。”

因为永久冻土融解,汞也进入了食物链。北极是地球上汞最多的地方。美国地质调查局(US Geological Survey)估量,极地冰川和永久冻土中总共储备着165。6万吨汞:约是全球其他所有陆地、海洋和大气中汞含量的两倍。纳塔利解释说:“在有机物含量高的地方,汞通常与有机物结合在一起……有机体的身体不会将其去除,所以它会在食物链中进行生物积存。永冻层几乎就是那场完美的暴风雨——永冻层中有大量汞,它们被释放进湿地系统,湿地环境正适合有机体汲取汞,然后(它们)就进入了食物链。这对野生动植物、人类和商业捕鱼业来说都是一个问题。”

Are there some positives of a thawing Arctic? Could a greener Arctic start to see more trees and vegetation take root, sequestering more carbon and offering new grazing land for animals? Osborne agrees that “the Arctic is greening”. But she adds that studies of animal populations actually suggest that, “warmer temperatures also increase the prevalence of viruses and disease, so we’re seeing a lot more caribou and reindeer becoming more sickly as a result of this warming climate… it is just not an environment that is suited to thrive at these warmer temperatures.” Natali also says that many areas are experiencing “Tundra browning”: the higher temperatures lead surface water to evaporate into the atmosphere, causing plants to die off. Other areas are experiencing sudden flooding due to the ground collapsing. “It’s not happening in 2100 or 2050, it’s now”, says Natali. “You hear people say ‘we used to pick blueberries over there’, and you look over there and it’s a wetland.”

北极融解有积极的影响吗?一个更加绿色的北极会开始看来更多的树木和植被扎根,汲取更多的碳,并为动物提供新的栖息地吗?奥斯本同意“北极正在变绿”的说法。但她补充说,实际上对动物种群进行的研究表明,“温度升高还会加剧病毒和疾病的传播,因此我们看来,由于气候变暖,更多北美驯鹿和驯鹿变得更加体弱多病……温度升高,在这种环境下根本不适合茁壮成长。”纳塔利还说,很多地区正在经历“冻土层褐化”:升温导致地表水蒸发来大气中,造成植物死亡。另一些地区因为地面塌陷而突发洪灾。“这不是发生在2100年或2050年的事,就是现在,”纳塔利说。“你会听来人们说‘我们过去常在那里摘蓝莓’,而当你看过去时,发觉那是一片湿地。”

Natali doesn’t want to end the conversation on a downer。 There is a lot we can do, she says。 The fate of the Arctic is not a foregone conclusion: “The actions taken by the international community will have a substantial impact on just how much carbon will be released and how much of the permafrost will thaw。 We need to keep as much of the permafrost as we can frozen。 And we do have some control of that。” Our emissions cannot remain “business as usual”。 The Arctic depends on it。 And we depend on the Arctic。

纳塔利不想沮丧地结束谈话。我们能做的事情很多,她说。北极的命运并非已成定局:“国际社会摘取的行动将对究竟会有多少碳被释放出来、永久冻土会融解多少产生复要影响。我们必须让尽可能多的永久冻土保持冻结状态。我们确实在一定程度上控制了这种情况。”排放不能“照旧”。北极要靠它,而我们要靠北极。

“全文请访问,本文发表于纽约时报中文网(http://cn.nytimes.com),版权回纽约时报公司所有。任何单位及个人未经许可,不得擅自转载或翻译。订阅纽约时报中文网新闻电邮:http://nytcn.me/subscription/”

pk10投注技巧相关的文章列表
pk10帐号注册 pk10投注技巧 北京赛车pk10 pk10手机投注软件 pk10走势图

免责声明: 本站资料及图片来源互联网文章,本网不承担任何由内容信息所引起的争议和法律责任。所有作品版权归原创作者所有,与本站立场无关,如用户分享不慎侵犯了您的权益,请联系我们告知,我们将做删除处理!