Vast lakes discovered underneath Antarctic ice sheet
Thrilling hairy men in Speedos everywhere, satellite-wielding scientists have mapped new lakes deep below Antarctica’s legendary ice. The finds, they say, could help predict how the area will respond to climate change. According to research published online in the journal Science, the lakes, some of which span hundreds of square miles, cause parts of the massive ice sheet to change elevation as they fill and drain. Geologically speaking, the ice above the lakes is “really ripping along” as fast as 2.5 feet per day, said coauthor Robert Bindschadler of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “It’s the fast-moving ice that determines how the ice sheet responds to climate change on a short timescale.” Images collected from NASA’s Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite, or ICESat, show changes taking place over a few months, rather than years or decades, and lead author Helen Fricker of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography says climate models need to take that subglacial aqua action into account.