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Activities on Frozen Lakes May No Longer be Safe as Global Warming Persists, Study Shows – Nature World News

According to a recent study, as global warming progresses, activities like driving and ice skating on frozen lakes may no longer be as safe as they used to be.

The reality TV program “Ice Road Truckers” attracted millions of viewers worldwide because it required skilled truck drivers to overcome nerve-wracking tasks like lugging heavy supplies and goods across frozen lakes in the far Arctic.

An international team of the lake and climate scientists recently published a study that suggests that it may soon no longer be necessary to drive large trucks across frozen lakes.

The study identifies the warming levels at which regionally unsafe ice conditions will be reached in terms of transportation and leisure activities, such as ice-fishing or ice-skating. It is based on one of the most thorough future climate change model simulations to date. The model simulation used for the study is the second version of the Community Earth System Model – Large Ensemble.

Global Warming

The study’s clear conclusion is that global warming will significantly reduce the safety of lake ice. Arctic indigenous communities who depend on ice roads for quick and reasonably priced transportation and supply during the winter are likely to be impacted, as well as local economies. Future ice conditions that are thinning also pose a threat to distinctive lake ecosystems that have evolved over thousands of years to withstand repeated frozen lake conditions.

Dr. Lei Huang, a former postdoctoral researcher from the IBS Center for Climate Physics (ICCP) in South Korea’s Busan, said that Their findings show that, depending on the level of future warming, the timeframe of safe ice for the next 80 years will be cut by 2-3 weeks. The number of days yielding safe ice conditions will decrease by more than 90% in regions where frozen lakes are utilized as ice roads to transport bulky goods and supplies. Huang is the corresponding author of the study.

Read also: Giant Viruses Found Infecting Microscopic Algae in a Rare Arctic Lake 

Dr. Iestyn Woolway from UK’s Bangor University pointed out that Their computer model simulations predict a significant decline in safe ice conditions enough for recreational activities in many densely populated mid-latitude regions. Woolway added that more than 60% of the time that safe lake ice lasts can already be lost with a 1.5°C warming above conditions from the early 20th century. Local communities that depend on the ice recreation industry will suffer as a result. Woolway is the first author of the study.

Dr. Sapna Sharma from York University in Canada added that Given that the planet now has warmed by 1.2°C since the start of industrialization, now is the ideal time for affected communities to implement effective regional adaptation strategies to reduce economic losses and prevent fatalities. Sharma is one of the lead authors of the study, Phys Org reports.

Frozen Lakes

In high latitudes, frozen lakes are frequently used for wheeled transportation. Such transportation routes are hazardous because of the recent decrease in the length of time that the lakes are frozen and the increased variability in freeze-up and break-up dates.

Related article: Unforgiving Climate Change: Even Arctic Lakes are Drying Up 

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