Rivers, streams and lakes of melt water found on the surface of Antarctica is much more common than has recently been assumed. To such conclusion experts of Columbia University in new York formed a complete map covered with melt water sites on the continent.
The fact that Antarctica is gradually melting, thus raising sea levels, worries scientists for a long time. That one sign of this is the appearance of numerous lakes of melt water, too, was known in the past — for example, last year experts from the University of Durham found that such lakes appear in abundance on the glacier Langhovde in the Eastern part of the continent. In General, however, experts believe that a large part of the glaciers at the South pole is under much less threat than in the North.
To more precisely assess the scale of the problem, scientists from Columbia University in new York analyzed the high-quality pictures of Antarctica, made for 70 years. Summarizing this information, the scientists were able to map the rivers and lakes of melt water. As it turned out, the reservoirs of this kind form on the surface of the continent a network, some of appeared decades ago.
Experts fear that a large number of streams of melt water can accelerate the melting of glaciers and expanding cracks in the ice, and generally do polar ice much less stable than commonly believed. Experts note that some lakes of melt water are too old that their appearance could be blamed for human activity in General, however, new evidence suggests that provoked, in particular, and people global warming may lead to serious consequences sooner than expected until now.
Map and dedicated to her research work was published in the scientific publication Nature.
To date, according to scientists, the ice sheet of Antarctica is losing up to 2.8 thousand cubic kilometers of ice annually, and over time, these rates only increase.