Sep 07 2007

‘Glacial Rivers Reduce Pollution on Earth’ by Gudmundur Páll Ólafsson

Glacial rivers are not only the lifeblood of Iceland, but also of the whole planet.

River water contains sediment in suspension and various substances in solution; glacial rivers, especially, carry a large amount of sediment which increases as the atmosphere grows warmer.

River of Life

Rivers of Life

Glacial rivers carry the sediment out to sea, where it takes on a new and important role in binding the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) with calcium (Ca) and converting it into calcite and other carbonate minerals, immensely important in the ocean ecosystems of the world. Thus glacial rivers reduce pollution on Earth. This effect is greatest in recently formed volcanic territory such as Iceland, and the binding effect increases with rising atmospheric temperature.

Glacial rivers bind this gas which, along with some other gases, causes global warming and threatens the future of life of Earth.

When a glacial river is harnessed to generate electricity, this important function, and the binding of the greenhouse gas CO2, is diminished. What they generate is not GREEN ENERGY, as the advocates of hydro-power plants and heavy industry maintain, but BLACK ENERGY.

Dams and reservoirs hinder the function of glacial sediment in the oceans, and hence hydro-electric power plants that harness glacial rivers are far more harmful than has hitherto been believed.

In addition, it is probable that the reduced volume of sediment and the disruption of the flow of the rivers will affect the population of diatoms and calcareous algae. This could lead to falling catches of fish off Iceland’s coast, fewer jobs in the fishing industry, and lower export revenues.

It would make sense to prohibit the harnessing of any glacial rivers, and other rivers carrying large amounts of sediment, anywhere in the world, for it is in the interests of all Earth dwellers that they should continue to function – just as the preservation of Amazonian rain forest is in all our interests.

When advocates of hydro-electric power and heavy industry boast of the pure power yielded by Icelandic rivers for aluminium production, they are deceiving themselves, and deceiving the people of Iceland. Damage from hydro-power plants in Iceland with their dams and reservoirs has already resulted in destruction of geological diversity as well as the diversity of life, and ecosystems. They are not only destroyers of beautiful life and landscape, they are contributing to the greenhouse effect.

Glacial rivers are the lifeblood of the Earth, and create resources at land and sea in many ways – they are the lifeblood of the fish in the sea, the birds of the air, and of all mankind.

That is how all glacial rivers are already utilised – utilised for life, and for the future.

Gudmundur Páll Ólafsson
Natural scientist
3 January 2006

See also:

The whole article ‘Role of river-suspended material in the global carbon cycle’ is here in pdf

‘Hydropower Disaster for Global Warming’ by Jaap Krater

Hydroelectric Power’s Dirty Secret Revealed – New Scientist

‘Kárahnjúkavirkjun, sýnd veiði en ekki gefin’ eftir Grím Björnsson jarðeðlisfræðing

Virkjanir í jökulám óhagstæðar fyrir loftslagsvernd, eftir Hjörleif Guttormsson
– Enn ein falsrökin fyrir Kárahnjúkavirkjun hrakin

‘Stóra samhengið’ eftir Guðmund Pál Ólafsson náttúrufræðing – Virkjanaæði stjórnvalda stefnir fiskimiðum landsins í voða