Seabird poo: great for ruining your picnic at the beach, and according to new research, good for keeping the Arctic cool.
But if the birds want to stop their summertime home from melting away, they re going to have to start taking laxatives.
An intriguing new study in Nature Communications describes the hidden wonders of seabird poo, a miracle substance that can seed clouds and keep the sun s harsh rays at bay.
It all started when a Dalhousie University-led team of atmospheric scientists measured high concentrations of ammonia in the air surrounding the Canadian Arctic.
Their journey of discovery led the researchers to seabirds, which every summer flock to the Arctic by the tens of millions to eat, breed, and shit.
By modelling the behaviour of chemicals in the guano droppings found at seabird colonies, the researchers determined that bacterial digestion of bird crap is responsible for the ammonia spikes.