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Post at: Aug 18 2021


Recent Context 

  • On 7th July, 2021 the study published in Geo-physical Research Letters revealed that the NASA's ICESat-2 has discovered Antarctic a Meltwater Lakes.

What is ICESat-2

  • ICESat-2 is the successor of ICESat.
  • It is a part of NASA's Earth observing system.
  • It is a satellite mission for measuring ice-sheet elevation and sea ice thickness as well as land topography, vegetation characteristics and clouds.
  • It was launched on 15th September 2018 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Purpose of ICESat-2

  • To provide elevation data needed to determine ice sheet mass balance as well as vegetation canopy information.
  • To provide topography measurments of cities, lakes and reservoirs, oceans in addition to polar specific coverage.
  • To detect seafloor topography up to 30m below the surface in clean watered coastal areas.
  • To measure the changing of the elevation of icesheets by its laser system and lidar to quantify the influence of melting ice-sheet in sea-level rising.

Significance of the Discovery of Meltwater Lake

  • Using data from the original ICESat in 2007, Fricker (a glaciologist) found for the first time that under Antarctica's fast flowing ice streams, an entire network of lakes connect with one another filing and draining actively over time.
  • Scientists have hypothesized subglacial water exchange in Antarctica result from a combination of factors such as :-

  • It will help the scientists to observe under the ice sheet.


  • Meltwater lakes and streams on Antarctica's ice shelves are common during the warmer months. Still the scientists concluded, it is too early to determine whether warming in Antarctica's climate caused the demise of the observed lake on Amery ice shelf.

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