Melting Glaciers Are Filling Unstable Lakes. And They’re Growing.

Read the full story in the New York Times. freezing and often an otherworldly shade of blue, glacial lakes form as glaciers melt and retreat. These lakes are a source of drinking and irrigation water for many communities. But they can turn deadly in an instant when the rocks that hold them in place shift and send torrents of water coursing downstream.

Now, researchers have compiled the first global database of glacial lakes and found that they increased in volume by nearly 50 percent over the last few decades. That growth, largely fueled by climate change, means that such floods will likely strike more frequently in the future, the team concluded in a paper published Monday in Nature Climate Change.

Associated journal article: Shugar, D.H., et al (2020). “Rapid worldwide growth of glacial lakes since 1990.” Nature Climate Change, 31 August.

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