8 November 2020.
A team of researchers from the Zhejiang University have reported an increase in the percentage of tarballs in the Himalayan region.
What are tarballs?
- Tarballs are small light-absorbing, carbonaceous particles formed due to burning of biomass or fossil fuels that deposit on snow and ice.
- This increases their light absorbing capability that hastens the glacial melting.
- The median size tarballs found in the Himalayan Glaciers were of size 213 nanometres and 348 nanometres.
- The study reveals that this is mainly due to wheat residue burning in the Indo-Gangetic plains.
- The Tarballs are being carried by the wind.
- The Tarballs are emitted along with black carbon.
Tarballs in ocean:
- The Tarballs are formed in oceans as well.
- In the ocean, they are formed from the crude oil floating in the water.
- They are transported from open sea to the shores by sea currents.
- They were earlier usually size of a coin.
- However, in the recent years, they have become big as basket balls and are weighing six to seven kilograms.
- In Himalayas too, their sizes are increasing slowly.
How are Tarballs harmful to ocean?
- They get stuck to the fishing nets installed in the sea.
- This makes it difficult for the fishermen to fish. Also, they are major concern to the global marine ecosystem.
Earlier Tarball Cases
- In 2010, Tarball occurrences were witnessed in Goa beaches.
- In 2019, they were found in Juhu beach of Mumbai.
Major Glaciers in India
- Gangotri Glacier in Uttarkashi, Utttarakhand
- Milam Glacier in Trishul peak of Pithoragarh of Uttarakhand
- Pindari Glacier in Nanda Devi, Uttarakhand
- Zemu Glacier is the largest glacier in Eastern Himalayas. It is located on Kanchenjunga peak in Sikkim.