We’ve all heard about the effects of climate change. Now, a new research shows that these effects have a bigger impact than previously believed. Researchers discovered that Antarctica has more meltwater lakes and rivers than expected. Despite the fact that scientists knew about the network of rivers and lakes in that area, they believed these only existed in the warm locations of Antarctica.
Meltwater in Antarctica
During a survey in Antarctica, scientists discovered that there are more meltwater lakes and rivers all over the continent. Despite the fact that the meltwater is a part of the water cycle in Antarctica, researchers were not expecting to find so many lakes and rivers. These lakes and rivers are now spreading all across the continent.
The formation of these ponds, lakes, and rivers is caused by a rise in temperatures. They are usually formed during the short summer period. The problem is that climate change has caused them to become bigger and bigger. Once the global warming raises the temperatures, even more, these lakes and rivers could lead to the rise of sea levels.
“This is not in the future–this is widespread now, and has been for decades. I think most polar scientists have considered water moving across the surface of Antarctica to be extremely rare,” mentioned the leader of the study, Jonathan Kingslake.
Meltwater Lakes Might Make Ice Shelves Collapse
Another problem that could be caused by these meltwater lakes is connected to the ice shelves. These ice shelves surround 75% of the continent. These formations keep the land glaciers from being released into the water. Due to climate change, the land glaciers will melt and the sea levels will rise. The sea levels will rise a lot and it can engender the entire planet.
One of the co-authors of the study, Robin Bell, has a different opinion. He believes that these meltwater lakes and rivers are the ones that help the ice shelves stay together. Now, we can only wait and see what happens to the network of lakes and rivers in Antarctica.
What is your opinion about this study? Did you know that Antarctica is covered by rivers and lakes?
Image source: Wikipedia