Hot summers and lakes are threatening the corners of the world’s largest ice sheet

Hot summers and lakes are threatening the corners of the world's largest ice sheet

Lake Meltwater on the Shackleton Ice Shelf, East Antarctica. Found: David Small, Durham University

The first study of its kind looking at shallow meltwater lakes around the East Antarctic Ice Sheet over a period of seven years found that the area and size of these lakes change significantly from year to year, and provide additional information. the effect of current climate change on the ‘Frozen Continent’.

The study, led by the University of Durham (UK), used over 2,000 satellite images from the edge of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet to determine the size and proportions of lakes in the ice sheet. , Supraglacial lakes are also seen, between the ages of seven. 2014 and 2020.

The study, which involved the schools of Newcastle and Lancaster and the Georgia Institute of Technology, reported the size of the lake each year as much as 200% on a single ice sheet ( floating extensions of the great Antarctic ice sheet), around. 72% total.

Deeper and larger lakes are known during the warming seasons and are built on a number of potentially dangerous ice sheets.

This research, published today by Nature CommunicationsThis is the first time that meltwater lakes have been studied in different melting seasons on the entire ice sheet, so that the powers of their growth can be investigated. The study, therefore, provides important insight into why and where lakes grow, and helps scientists understand the ice sheets that are more vulnerable to cracking due to melting of the ice. Skin.

Hot summers and lakes are threatening the corners of the world's largest ice sheet

Lake Meltwater in East Antarctica can be seen from the Landsat 8 satellite. Available: USGS Geological Survey

Lead researcher, Ph.D. student Jennifer Arthur, Department of Geography, Durham University, location; “We found that there are more supraglacial lakes than previously thought about the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, but so far there are only a few images of this age.

“Our research on these lakes shows that they have changed a lot more than we previously thought.

“We looked for possible reasons for this and we found that the hot summer temperatures in Antarctica are associated with larger lakes.

“Due to climate change, air levels in Antarctica will continue to rise and our research shows that this will lead to an increase in the number and size of supraglacial lakes, which are leaving some East Antarctic ice sheets in danger of melting water… falling. “

Hot summers and lakes are threatening the corners of the world's largest ice sheet

Lake Meltwater on the Sørsdal Glacier, East Antarctica. Found: Sue Cook, UTAS

The East Antarctic Ice Sheet is the world’s largest ice sheet and holds the ice that raises the Earth’s surface by about 52 meters.

The disappearance of the ice sheets that form a block of ice allows the ice to flow faster into the ocean, helping to raise the earth’s surface.

Until now, supraglacial lakes in the East Antarctica Ice Sheet have not been seen much and have not seen much change from year to year, so it is difficult to see if some ice sheets are close to each other. melted by molten water under climate change.

Hot summers and lakes are threatening the corners of the world's largest ice sheet

Lake Meltwater on the Sørsdal Glacier. Found: Dave Lomas

This study will help experts understand the formation of the supraglacial pool, the effect of weather on this and predict the ice sheets that may collapse.

Understanding the climatic conditions that control meltwater lake variability will also improve the accuracy of the landforms used to re -create observations and predict possible ice changes. from Antarctica.

The study used images from the Landsat 8 satellite.


Thousands of meltwater lakes have been recorded on the icy side of eastern Antarctica


More information:
There are many differences between the supraglacial lakes around East Antarctica, Nature Communications (2022). DOI: 10.1038 / s41467-022-29385-3

Presented by the University of Durham

Directions: Summer heat and melting lakes threaten corners of the world’s largest ice (2022, March 31) Retrieved 31 March 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022- 03-warmer-summers-meltwater-lakes-threatening .html

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