The carbon cycle on Earth is having a hard time managing the greenhouse gas content of our atmosphere. The climate change is turning out be difficult to handle and proving dangerous for human well-being. Our Earth has 10% of the land surface covered with ice sheets and past 20 Years most of it is frozen wastelands which has no life forms and only dormant chemical weathering irrespective of the carbon cycle. According to the University of Bristol’ School of Geographical Sciences and Cabot Institute for the Environment Professor Jemma Wadham, the frozen wastelands should no longer be considered as frozen and submissive parts of Earth’s carbon cycle. The unique conditions below the sheets make them necessary for Earth’s carbon cycle and useful for human survival.
The liquid water below the ice sheets have microbes thriving despite the inhospitable conditions. The microbes adapted to conditions can increase nutrient release, process ground rocks, and glacial meltwaters can export to the oceans. The nutrient helps fishes and other marine lives to take up carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. The melting of the ice sheets releases organic carbon just like 20,000 billion tones of organic carbon that is released by the Antarctic Ice Sheet. The carbon is also converted to methane gas in some cases. The phytoplankton on the surface waters is also encouraged by the carbon and nutrient levels.
Thus, the final outcome is that the discovery of the viable life forms on the frozen wastelands provides humans another property to explore and look for various new accessibilities to exploit for human benefits such as mining, food sources, habitation, and more. The researchers intend to launch a program to start the investigation of the ice sheets. Likewise, the researchers from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have recently created a process wherein the carbon dioxide along with hydrogen gas is changed directly into graphene at 1000° Celsius using catalytically active metal surfaces. This photosynthesis inspired conversion can help develop graphene that has many applications in electronics and materials science due to its high electrical conductivity, lightweight, and high strength.