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Mysterious Blue Lakes Are Appearing In The Antarctic And Scientists Are Worried

In the span of just three years, between 2000 and 2013 almost 8,000 lakes had formed. These supraglacial lakes are draining into the floating ice below, which, according to Sciencealert, could have serious consequences for the stability of the entire ice shelf.

Researchers thought that the ice shelf of East Antarctica, was practically invincible to the effects of global warming. It turns out, they were wrong. An ice shelf is a slab of floating ice that forms where a glacier flows down a coastline.

       Giphy

Scientists are worried because they've seen something like this happen before, in Greenland. The ice sheet in Greenland has been disintegrating at an alarming rate. Between 2011 and 2014, it lost about 1 trillion tonnes of ice and scientists believe that it's because of supraglacial lakes like the ones that have recently appeared in East Antarctica.

In 2008, scientists thought that the lakes in Greenland wouldn't amount to too much trouble, but with the recent appearance of similar lakes in East Antarctica there is a creeping sense of deepened concern.


These are the images of some of the emerging lakes in Antarctica.

The best explanation for the sudden appearance of thousands of these lakes? Climate change. The warmest summer between 2012 and 2013 had a total of 37 "positive degree days" and the glacier surface experienced 36 per cent more new lakes than ever before.

Since July 2016 was the world's hottest month with record-breaking heat across the globe, we're probably going to see many more supraglacial lakes forming. The big concern is that this could weaken the ice shelf and contribute to the rising sea levels, which puts the world's coastal populations at risk.


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