Antarctic lake ‘suddenly vanished’ in 2019, scientists say

Antarctic Peninsula, the Larsen Ice Shelf, and the sea ice covered waters around the region – CC

A huge ice-covered lake in East Antarctica has been left to wither away in less than a week, possibly due to climate change, according to a new study.

Most ice shelves in the world embrace the shoreline of Antarctica.

While experts are not sure how the lake vanished so soon, the most plausible scenario is that the lake ground submerged under this immense load.

It was too early to conclude that draining this meltwater lake is connected to global warming around Antarctica, the team said.

This is extraordinary not only due to the lake’s size, but also because this water drains through the ice.

Hypothesis is that the hydrofraction process is involved in the breakdown of smaller ice shelves on the Antarctic Peninsula, where, in the summer, meltwater forms on the surface of ice shelf.

The researchers want to apply the acquired knowledge, along with the modern satellites which captured the cruel death of the lake (aptly named ICESat-2), to gather more information on the retreat of the Antarctic ice shelf.

NASA spinoff technologies

NASA spinoff technologies are commercial products and services which have been developed with the help of NASA, through research and development contracts, (wikipedia)


Subglacial lake

A subglacial lake is a lake that is found under a glacier, typically beneath an ice cap or ice sheet. Subglacial lakes form at the boundary between ice and the underlying bedrock, (wikipedia)


Scripps Institution of Oceanography

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The Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, California, founded in 1903, is one of the oldest and largest centers for ocean and Earth science research, public service, (wikipedia)


University of California, San Diego

The University of California, San Diego is a public land-grant research university in San Diego, California. Established in 1960 near the pre-existing Scripps Institution of Oceanography, (wikipedia)


Lake Whillans

Lake Whillans is a subglacial lake in Antarctica. The lake is located under the Whillans Ice Stream at the southeastern edge of the Ross Ice Shelf in the west of the continent. (wikipedia)


University of Tasmania

The University of Tasmania is a public research university, primarily located in Tasmania, Australia. Founded in 1890, it is Australia’s fourth oldest university. Christ College, (wikipedia)


Arctic sea ice decline

The Arctic sea ice decline has occurred in recent decades by sea ice in the Arctic Ocean melting faster than it refreezes in the winter. (wikipedia)