Glacier melting increases the solute concentrations of himalayan glacial lakes

Salerno F.; Rogora M.; Balestrini R.; Lami A.; Tartari G.A.; Thakuri S.; Godone D.; Freppaz M.; Tartari G., 2016, Glacier melting increases the solute concentrations of himalayan glacial lakes, Environmental science & technology 50 (2016): 9150–9160. doi_10.1021/acs.est.6b02735,

Over the past two decades, we observed a substantial rise in ionic content that was mainly determined by the sulfate concentration at 20 remote high elevation lakes located in central southern Himalaya. At LCN9, which was monitored on an annual basis for the last 20 years, the sulfate concentrations increased over 4-fold. Among the main causes, we exclude a change in the composition of wet atmospheric deposition, as well as a possible influence of decrease in seasonal snow cover duration, which could have exposed larger basin surfaces to alteration processes. Glacier retreat likely was the main factor responsible for the observed increase of sulfate concentrations. We attribute this chemical changes mainly to the sulfide oxidation processes that occur in subglacial environments. Moreover, we observe that the weakened monsoon of the past two decades has only partially contributed to the lakes enrichment through runoff waters that are more concentrated in solutes or lowering the water table, resulting in more rock exposed to air and enhanced mineral oxidation.

Data from