This lake is one of the biggest in the ice continent and its disappearance sent alarms bells ringing to those conducting a study. Of course, the usual culprit is climate change.
Ice melt is a concern for researchers
Changes in the Amery ice shelf were tracked with radar images. Scientists first caught the process of rapid melting during June of 2019, in the Antarctic winter, reported the Daily Mail.
One of the reasons for the emptying of the frozen lake is meltwater that builds up as ice or snow turns to slush. The extra weight caused the underlying ice from the ice shelf to crack or to hydrofracture, allowing water to escape.
The amount of water that was released into the arctic sea is about 750 million cubic meters. his is about two times the volume of San Diego Bay.
When the water drained from the lake, a crater-like depression was left on the ice shelf. This depression is 4.25 square miles long.
Study author, Roland Warner is a glaciologist connected to the Australian Antarctic Program Partnership with the University of Tasmania. He said that the weight of the water at the lake bottom caused a crack in the underlying ice, a hydrofracture where water seeped out.
No one in the study knows how the fracturing happened or what started it. Whether or not the lake drain is caused by heating of the southern continent is caused by climate change, needs more research. A huge lake in East Antarctica was gone in a week is something that merits further investigation.
What caused it?
When air temperatures heat up, it will melt ice shelves. In turn, the melted ice shelves cause more fissures to the ice underneath. Activities like burning coal, natural gas, and oil produce carbon dioxide which is a greenhouse, and loss of forests will likely exacerbate the problem of melting ice. The occurrence of greenhouse gases from man-made activities will cause climate change that causes a rise in sea levels. All the ice and snow will be a factor in increased sea levels.
What to expect said the study
One effect of climate change is that the melting of floating ice shelves in Antarctica will be happening more often. This is expected to affect its stability in unknown ways, said the researchers.
Surface melting over Antarctica's floating ice shelves is predicted to increase significantly during coming decades, but the implications for their stability are still unknown, the team says in their paper, cited Phys Org.
Data from the study came from Landsat 8, using radar to map the southern continent to check on the geological change on the frozen continent. The recorded images were seen in June, which indicated the lake's water loss. The event was caught by the green-light laser instrument on NASA's ICESat-2, which accurately captures images it records on the earth's surface. Several orbits made by the satellite show the stages as the lake changed water level, and how the change progressed along.
Helen Amanda Fricker, from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, stated that the images from the satellite show how the melting happened that is crystal clear how it changed, noted the Daily Advent.
Changes in the Amery Ice Shelf show a huge lake in East Antarctica was gone in a week, which shows how climate change can have a grave impact.