Study: Permafrost under Arctic lakes melting faster

    The study notes that winter temperatures have been warming while the snowpack has been thicker, limiting the growth of seasonal lake ice.

    Permafrost is melting faster beneath the shallow lakes that cover much of the Arctic tundra.

    According to researchers at UAF, working with the U.S. Geological Survey and other institutes, the annual average temperature of Arctic lake beds has been above freezing in five of the last seven years, an increase of 2-point-4 degrees celsius over the past 30 years.

    By comparison, the permafrost beneath dry land is not expected to thaw until the end of this century.

    The lakes, sometimes only knee-deep, cover roughly one-third of the surface of Arctic lowlands.

    The study published this month in "Geophysical Research Letters" notes that winter temperatures have been warming while the snowpack has been thicker, limiting the growth of seasonal lake ice.

    The study recommends more fieldwork during the winter to get better measurements of ice thickness.

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