Roundup: A Shrinking Lake, a Deepening Lake, and Ice below Sea Level

Glacial Retreat Shrinks Yukon’s Largest Lake

From CBC News: “Kluane MLA Wade Istchenko says receding water levels on Kluane Lake are posing a problem for his constituents — and he wants the government to respond. The lake level first dropped last year, after the Kaskawulsh Glacier retreated so much that its meltwater abruptly switched direction, away from Kluane Lake. Researchers have blamed climate change for the geologic phenomenon referred to as ‘river piracy’.”

You can read more about how Istchenko proposes the legislature respond here.

Kluane Lake, shown here in July 2016, is shrinking due to glacial retreat (Source: Hendrik Queckendstedt/Twitter).


Spillway Lake in Nepal Deepens

From Water: “Since the 1950s, many debris-covered glaciers in the Nepalese Himalaya have developed large terminal moraine-dammed supraglacial lakes, which grow through expansion and deepening on the surface of a glacier. As temperatures continue to rise and lakes continue to grow in area and volume, they pose a flooding risk to the Sherpa villages down-valley.”

Learn more about how the Ngozumpa Glacier’s terminal lake is growing here.

Prayer flags overlook Ngozumpa Glacier from Goky Ri (Source: Hendrik Terbeck/Flickr).


Melting an Ice Sheet from Below

From Nature: “Because the East Antarctic Ice Sheet seems so cold and isolated, researchers thought that it had been stable in the past and was unlikely to change in the future — a stark contrast to the much smaller West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which has raised alarms because many of its glaciers are rapidly retreating. In the past few years, however, “almost everything we thought we knew about East Antarctica has turned out to be wrong”, says Tas van Ommen, a glaciologist at the Australian Antarctic Division in Kingston, near Hobart. By flying across the continent on planes with instruments that probe beneath the ice, his team found that a large fraction of East Antarctica is well below sea level, which makes it more vulnerable to the warming ocean than previously thought. The researchers also uncovered clues that the massive Totten glacier, which holds about as much ice as West Antarctica, has repeatedly shrunk and grown in the past — another sign that it could retreat in the future.”

Read more about uncertainty in the East Antarctic here.

Some Antarctic ice shelves, including Totten, are melting from below much faster than expected (Source: Nature).



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