Spotting meltwater lakes with space lasers • Earth.com

Spotting meltwater lakes with space lasers

07-14-2021


Today’s Video of the Day from NASA Goddard describes how the ICESat-2 mission has mapped meltwater lakes in Antarctica with remarkable accuracy.

Hundreds of meltwater lakes are hidden beneath the Antarctic Ice Sheet where its base meets the continent’s bedrock.

Using the most advanced Earth-observing laser instrument that has ever been launched by NASA, scientists have improved their maps of the hidden lake systems under the West Antarctic ice sheet. 

The new study provides critical insight for finding subglacial lakes from space. Furthermore, it is important for experts to be able to track these lake systems in order to predict the fate of the ice sheet. 

“The discovery of these interconnected systems of lakes at the ice-bed interface that are moving water around, with all these impacts on glaciology, microbiology, and oceanography – that was a big discovery from the ICESat mission,” said Professor Matthew Siegfried, the lead investigator in the new study. 

“ICESat-2 is like putting on your glasses after using ICESat, the data are such high precision that we can really start to map out the lake boundaries on the surface.”

Video Credit: NASA Goddard

By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer

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