The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, aka the Tibetan Plateau, is not only the biggest plateau on Earth. The region is also one of the most peculiar yet fascinating areas we might ever come across to.
In a new study, researchers found some physical traits and thermal dynamics of the Tibetan lakes that’ll leave you in awe.
Here is what you need to know.
Peculiar Freshwater Lakes and a Warming Trend
Lakes can influence the transfer of heat between the land and the atmosphere, triggering regional precipitation and temperature, and that’s a fact.
But little did researchers know that some freshwater lakes on the Tibetan Plateau are like nothing they’ve seen!
In the new study, a team of researchers examined China’s Ngoring Lake (the biggest freshwater lake of 610 square kilometers), which is usually covered in ice from December until mid-April.
What they found is genuinely intriguing.
Researchers came across an anomalous warming trend after the lake surface froze over, while the solar radiation at the surface warmed the topwater layers underneath the ice.
The Ngoring Lake was left completely mixed down to its mean depth within a month of ice cover. Usually, the water temperatures are below the maximum density temperature in most ice-covered lakes. In this case, the water temperature was significantly higher than the maximum freshwater density. And that happened by the middle of the ice season. What were the consequences?
According to new data, the ice melt trend accelerated at the end of the winter season. Then, the ice disappeared, and the water temperature reached 1 degree Celsius, launching around 500 watts/ square meters of heat right into the atmosphere. But that didn’t end there.
The heat was released in just one or two days!
The new study shows that lakes are not dormant under the ice all the time. What matters is that the thousands of lakes across the Tibetan Plateau could turn into heat flux hot spots right after ice melt, launching a lot of heat absorbed from the Sun.
Researchers will continue their investigation.