STATES CHRONICLE – Massive meltwater lakes which formed in Antarctica may cause a sea level rise that might affect the whole planet. Large areas of the Western Peninsula were discovered to be melting at a fast pace. Scientist argued that this part of Antarctica was especially affected by rigorous melting during summer months. Jonathan Kingslake, a glaciologist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, claimed that the effects of climate change could no longer be considered a future problem since they are already a reality.
Meltwater lakes, channels and rivers trigger even more melting, floating over the surface of snow
He also stated that many polar scientists have thought that the event of water moving across Antarctica is exceedingly rare. Nevertheless, they discovered it to be very popular, affecting large areas. The evidence found regarding these meltwater lakes forming during the summer season indicate that the whole continent may be more vulnerable than ever. Even slight temperature rises are likely to trigger melting events which will affect the area even more in the upcoming decades.
To develop the new study, Kingslake together with his colleagues have analyzed historical catalogs of pictures which were captured from military aircraft starting with 1974. They have also examined satellite images, going back to 1973. The team of researchers revealed that a network of approximately 700 meltwater lakes, rivers, streams, and channels formed across the ice layers.
Sea ice layers are continuously melting due to global warming
Some of these streams are popular at latitudes which are so far south such that researchers believed that liquid water was impossible to flow there. The new study was published on April 19 in the Nature magazine. In some cases, the water network has been developing for decades now. For example, meltwater lakes managed to reach the Roi Baudouin Ice Shelf of East Antarctica back in 1947. However, scientists could not establish whether these meltwater rivers have continued to grow since the first pictures were captured.
Some of these watery areas form where powerful winds carried away the snow from the surface, revealing the darker sea ice below. Other such areas appear to be developing near rocky mountains which peek out from the surrounding ice. The darker ice below attracts the sunlight which triggers the ice to melt at a fast pace. After the ice melts, meltwater lakes and rivers form, causing more melting when crossing over the surface of the snow.
What do you think should be done to stop these melting events? Are environmentalists able to save this area?
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