Lakes of meltwater accelerate the melting of the Arctic ice cap — like a lens, they direct focus the sun's rays into the ice, "burn" them, according to a study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
Global climate change has led to the fact that in recent decades the area of Arctic sea ice is continuously shrinking. However, a more serious problem scientists consider qualitative changes — experts from the National Information Center for Snow and Ice (NSIDC) U.S. found that Arctic ice "younger" in March 2011 to the ice age of about one to two years accounted for 80% of the total ice cover, whereas in the years 1980-2000, the figure was an average of 55%.
German scientists from the Institute of Polar Research Alfred Wegener (AWI) under the direction of Nikolaus Marcel (Marcel Nicolaus) found one of the reasons that destroyed many years, thick ice fields.
It turned out that willow — permanent ponds of meltwater on the surface of the ice fields — act as lenses, conducting heat deep into the ice mass.
A study to assess the impact of these changes in the structure of the ice fields, made the first large-scale measurement of how deep sunlight penetrates into the thickness of the ice. They concluded that in those places where the melt water accumulates on the surface of the ice, it focuses the sun's rays and direct thermal energy deep into the ice box.
The result, experts say, the appearance of willow sooner or later leads to a split in the ice, as the "leaky" ice fields absorb heat like a sponge.