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Arctic Lakes Freezing Later, Thawing Earlier

February 5, 2014; 7:03 PM ET

New research from the University of Waterloo has found that the winter ice season on Arctic lakes is on average, 24 days shorter than what it was in 1950.

The research team also found that the average thickness in 2011 was 38 cm thinner than what it was in 1950.

The researchers analyzed more than 400 lakes on the north slope of Alaska using satellite radar imagery from the European Space Agency (ESA)

It was also determined that 62 percent of the lakes froze to the bottom back in 1992, but only 26 percent did so in 2011.

In order to obtain information prior to 1991 the team used the Canadian Lake Ice Model to determine ice cover and thickness.

YouTube video from the University of Waterloo..

The reason for this decrease in thickness is a response to climate warming in the region, according to lead author Cristina Surdu.

"At the end of the analysis, when looking at trend analysis results, we were stunned to observe such a dramatic ice decline during a period of only 20 years," said Surdu.


Images courtesy of the University of Waterloo.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or


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