Glacier lakes increase rapidly due to climate change

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PARIS: According to a new study based on satellite data, the amount of lakes formed as glaciers worldwide has increased by 50 percent in 30 years due to climate change.
“We know that not all molten water is making it to the oceans right away,” lead author Dan Sugar, a geologist and associate professor at the University of Calgary, said in a statement.
“But until now there was no data to estimate how much is being stored in lakes or groundwater.”
The findings, published Monday in Nature Climate Change, will help scientists and governments identify potential threats to communities in these often volatile lakes, he said.
They will also improve the accuracy of estimates of sea level rise in how – and how quickly – through better understanding – the water shed by glaciers builds into the ocean.
According to earlier research, between 1994 and 2017, the world’s glaciers, especially in high-mountain areas, flow in mass of about 6.5 trillion tons.
“Glacier melting has increased 35 percent global sea-level in the last 100 years,” Anders Leverman, climate professor at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Change Impact, told AFP.
Other main sources of sea level rise are ice sheets and the expansion of sea water.
Earth’s average surface temperature has risen by one degree Celsius since preindustrial time, but high-mountain regions around the world have warmed at twice the speed, accelerating glacier melt.
Unlike normal lakes, glacier lakes are unstable because they are often damaged by loose rock and debris from snow or sediment.
When water logging occurs through these accidental barriers, large-scale flooding can occur downstream.
According to a study published in Nature Climate Change, known as an outbreak of glacial lake, such floods have been responsible for thousands of deaths in the last century, as well as the destruction of villages, infrastructure, and livestock.
The most recently recorded incident was an outbreak of a Himani lake that washed through the Hunza Valley in Pakistan in May.
In January, the United Nations Development Program estimated that more than 3,000 glacial lakes formed in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan region, with 33 posing an imminent threat that could affect as many as seven million people.
The new study, based on 250,000 views of NASA’s Landsat satellite missions, estimates the current glacial lake volume in more than 150 cubic kilometers (37 cubic miles), one-third or twice the volume of Lake Erie in the United States Is equal to the amount of Lake Geneva.
A decade ago, Sugar stated that it would not be possible to process and analyze that volume of data.

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