Lake area shrinking in Arctic permafrost regions, study finds – Eye on the Arctic

Lake area shrinking in Arctic permafrost regions, study finds – Eye on the Arctic
Melting permafrost can open the door to massive dispersion of toxic pollutants, as well as the release of large amounts of methane and carbon dioxide. (Elena Zhi/Getty Images)
As an indicator of climate change, changes in the lake area are important for understanding the hydrological and ecological processes in the boreal regions.

A team of scientists from the Institute of Environment and Resources of the Chinese Academy of Sciences studied changes in the lake area between 1987 and 2017 in seven river basins, including those in the Arctic.

The researchers aim to better understand the different effects of surface water balance on changes in lake surface area under different permafrost, topography and climatic conditions.

In their study published in the journal macroenvironmental scienceExperts explain that the interaction between lakes and permafrost is complex. Although previous studies have shown large differences in the surface area of ​​lakes in permafrost regions, the seasonal variations of lakes in permafrost regions and the conditions under which they occur are not clear.

permafrost deterioration

However, the comparison between basins showed that the annual area of ​​lakes decreased in the Arctic Basin. By comparing the environmental conditions among the different classifications, the researchers found that lakes with variable surface area, especially heterogeneous changes and abrupt changes, are distributed in areas with low and flat topography, with a high density of water bodies. An increase in the surface temperature of the permafrost.

“The change in surface water balance cannot fully explain the change in the lake area in the permafrost area,” said Ran Yuhua, director of the Institute of Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

“We also revealed the potential impact of the tipping point in permafrost degradation on lake change from a data perspective,” he said.

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About the Author: Irene Alves

"Bacon ninja. Guru do álcool. Explorador orgulhoso. Ávido entusiasta da cultura pop."

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