A massive Antarctic Lake covered by ice disappeared within days, setting off alarm bells regarding global warming and climate change’s dangerous trends. The event occurred in 2019. Only recently have satellites managed to image it.
The location of the Antarctic Lake is on the Eastern part of Antarctica, known as the Amery Ice Shelf. Scientists think that about 21 to 26 Bn cubic feet of water were added to the ocean, adding to the sea levels. It took three days for the lake to disappear following the collapse of the ice shelf below it.
In a recently published paper, scientists predict that surface melting of the Antarctic ice shelves is going to see a significant increase in the next decades. There has been significantly more melting observed in the peninsula of Antarctica. Researchers are still trying to grasp the functioning of meltwater. Moreover, it is becoming clearer that summer is not the only season when this happens.
Witnessing The Antarctic Lake Collapse
The high-resolution captured images show a drastic change in June of 2019 in the location. The meltwater of the ice-covered deep Antarctic Lake drained into the ocean. As a result, a deep depression spanning 11 square km of broken ice was left behind.
Glaciologist Roland Warner said that the whole drainage took as little as three days. The amount of water was more than the water in Sydney Harbor. The drainage would have looked like the Niagara Falls, he added.
The ICESat-2 of NASA has also captured the Antarctic Lake event. The laser instrument on the satellite was designed to make precise measurements of elevations by detecting photons reflected by the surface of the ice.
In the past few decades, some ice shelves in the Antarctic have seen more surface melting due to rising atmospheric temperatures. Alarmingly, the latest projections also predict this trend increasing, resulting in more such melt lakes. This also means more collapses can happen.
Even in the Arctic, global warming’s effects are visible. The Arctic’s “Last Ice Area” had melted enough for a ship to sail through.
Feature Image Credit: AARP