Researchers have found the pattern of US air pollution by analysing stuffed birds. They have discovered soot on birds, which is a type of black carbon. In a study published in ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’ shows that the amount of soot can cause discolouration of the birds is available in the air.
The birds which got analysed by researchers are Horned Larks. These little birds used to have a yellow chin and white bellies, which now have turned grey because of the air pollution. The researchers have observed the songbirds in the Midwestern museums. As per the findings, after seeing the stuffed birds museums in Chicago, Detroit and Pittsburgh, the researchers concluded that these little birds had more soot on their feathers in the 1900s and 1910s when people used to heat their homes with coal.
Soot has a vital role in climate change, and it traps heat efficiently, but it has not studied by the scientists because it doesn’t stay in the climate for a more extended period. Black-carbon occurs in the atmosphere due to the burning of fossil fuels, primarily coal. Unlike carbon dioxide, soot is carbon’s solid state which is the second most dominant greenhouse molecule, according to the recent studies.
Meanwhile, the collections of birds which are stored in the museum and the records show the scientists that past pollution may have been undervalued. As per few scientists, decreasing carbon dioxide emissions is harder way than reducing black carbon emissions to fight climate change.
Also, birds are the perfect candidate for study because birds grow a new set of feathers every year which means soot on birds had only been collecting for the past year. The researchers outlined the amount of reflective light to the years in which birds were collected which is around 1880 to 2015; Additionally observed the social history of urban air pollution.
The study shows that returning to coal resources is apparently not a good idea. Moreover, data which came in use for the study can be found at the place where we presume the slightest. So, the study shows the importance of maintaining museum collection.