Scientists have discovered that thousands of blue lakes of melt water have formed on the surface of Antarctica's glaciers over the past decade, an unprecedented event which threatens the stability of the largest ice mass on Earth.
Researchers from the Durham University in the UK analyzed hundreds of satellite images and meteorological observations of Langhovde Glacier, on the coast of East Antarctica's Dronning Maud Land. The study revealed that between 2000 and 2013, about 8,000 new blue lakes have appeared in Antarctica.
The scientists suspect that the water of some lakes could seep under the glacier's surface, potentially weakening it and making it more likely to fracture and break apart.
Previously it was thought that East Antarctica's ice hadn't been affected by global warming; therefore, more attention has been paid to the changes taking place in the Antarctic Peninsula. It is known that the occurrence of such lakes has led to melting of glaciers in Greenland, where 1 trillion metric tons of ice have melted between 2011 and 2014.
In the summer, as air temperatures warm, lakes form on top of the ice sheet and on some glaciers that extend outwards into deep ocean fjords. These lakes can then suddenly disappear all at once, or flow into rivers that drain into the ice below, lubricating the ice and helping increase the rate at which glaciers lurch forward. Sometimes, researchers have even been able to document fresh water flowing outward directly into the sea from the base of a glacier. That injection of cold fresh water into salty water can then create tornado-like underwater flow patterns at the submerged glacier front that cause further ice loss.
"It's not hitting the glacier really hard at the moment, this process, but of course, as things warm up, we'd expect it to start doing more damage, like we see in Greenland," said Stewart Jamieson, a glaciologist at Durham University and one of the study's authors.
The results of the new study were published in Geophysical Research Letters.
The fact of registration and authorization of users on Sputnik websites via users’ account or accounts on social networks indicates acceptance of these rules.
Users are obliged abide by national and international laws. Users are obliged to speak respectfully to the other participants in the discussion, readers and individuals referenced in the posts.
The websites’ administration has the right to delete comments made in languages other than the language of the majority of the websites’ content.
In all language versions of the sputniknews.com websites any comments posted can be edited.
A user comment will be deleted if it:
does not correspond with the subject of the post;
promotes hatred and discrimination on racial, ethnic, sexual, religious or social basis or violates the rights of minorities;
violates the rights of minors, causing them harm in any form, including moral damage;
contains ideas of extremist nature or calls for other illegal activities;
contains insults, threats to other users, individuals or specific organizations, denigrates dignity or undermines business reputations;
contains insults or messages expressing disrespect to Sputnik;
violates privacy, distributes personal data of third parties without their consent or violates privacy of correspondence;
describes or references scenes of violence, cruelty to animals;
contains information about methods of suicide, incites to commit suicide;
pursues commercial objectives, contains improper advertising, unlawful political advertisement or links to other online resources containing such information;
promotes products or services of third parties without proper authorization;
contains offensive language or profanity and its derivatives, as well as hints of the use of lexical items falling within this definition;
contains spam, advertises spamming, mass mailing services and promotes get-rich-quick schemes;
promotes the use of narcotic / psychotropic substances, provides information on their production and use;
contains links to viruses and malicious software;
is part of an organized action involving large volumes of comments with identical or similar content ("flash mob");
“floods” the discussion thread with a large number of incoherent or irrelevant messages;
violates etiquette, exhibiting any form of aggressive, humiliating or abusive behavior ("trolling");
doesn’t follow standard rules of the English language, for example, is typed fully or mostly in capital letters or isn’t broken down into sentences.
The administration has the right to block a user’s access to the page or delete a user’s account without notice if the user is in violation of these rules or if behavior indicating said violation is detected.