Researchers at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) have developed a technique to more quickly analyze extensive data from Arctic ice sheets in order to gain insight and useful knowledge on patterns and trends. Over the years, vast amounts of data have been collected about the Arctic and Antarctic ice. These data are essential for scientists and policymakers seeking to understand climate change and the current trend of melting. Masoud Yari, research assistant professor, and Maryam Rahnemoonfar, associate professor of information systems, have utilized new AI technology to develop a fully automatic technique to analyze ice data, published in the Journal of Glaciology. This is part of the National Science Foundation's ongoing BigData project. For decades, researchers have kept close track of polar ice, snow, and soil measurements, but processing the large volume of available data has proven challenging. NASA's processes for collecting, tracking, and labeling polar data involve significant manual work, and changes detected in the data can take months or even years to see. Even Arctic data collected via remote sensing technologies require manual processing. According to Rahnemoonfar, "Radar big data is very difficult to mine and understand just by using manual techniques." The AI techniques she and Yari are developing can be used to mine the data more quickly, to get useful information on trends related to the thickness of the ice sheets and the level of snow accumulation in a certain location. The researchers developed an algorithm that learns how to identify objects and patterns within the Arctic and Antarctic data. An AI algorithm must be exposed to hundreds of thousands of examples in order to learn how to identify important elements and patterns. Rahnemoonfar and her team used existing incomplete and noisy labeled data from the Arctic to train the AI algorithm on how to categorize and understand new data. The algorithm's training is not yet complete, as it will need to be scaled up over multiple sensors and locations to create a more accurate tool. However, it has already successfully begun to automate a process that was previously inefficient and labor-intensive. The rapid expansion of using AI technology to understand ice and snow thickness in the Arctic will allow scientists and researchers to make faster and more accurate predictions to inform international dialogue about climate change. The rate at which Arctic ice is melting impacts sea level rise, and if scientists are better able to predict the severity of the melting, society can better mitigate the harm caused by sea level rise. https://phys.org/news/2021-01-analysis-arctic-ice-ai.html
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Close to 5,700 lakes in the Northern Hemisphere may permanently lose ice cover this century, 179 of them in the next decade, at current greenhouse gas emissions, despite a possible polar vortex this year, researchers at York University have found. Those lakes include large bays in some of the deepest of the Great Lakes, such as Lake Superior and Lake Michigan, which could permanently become ice free by 2055 if nothing is done to curb greenhouse gas emissions or by 2085 with moderate changes. Many of these lakes that are predicted to stop freezing over are near large human populations and are an important source of drinking water. A loss of ice could affect the quantity and quality of the water. "We need ice on lakes to curtail and minimize evaporation rates in the winter," says lead researcher Sapna Sharma, an associate professor in the Faculty of Science. "Without ice cover, evaporation rates would increase, and water levels could decline. We would lose freshwater, which we need for drinking and everyday activities. Ice cover is extremely important both ecologically and socio-economically." The researchers, including Postdoctoral Fellows Kevin Blagrave and Alessandro Filazzola, looked at 51,000 lakes in the Northern Hemisphere to forecast whether those lakes would become ice-free using annual winter temperature projections from 2020 to 2098 with 12 climate change scenarios. A northern lake, Credit: York University Postdoctoral Fellow Alessandro Filazzola "With increased greenhouse gas emissions, we expect greater increases in winter air temperatures, which are expected to increase much more than summer temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere," says Filazzola. "It's this warming of a couple of degrees, as result of carbon emissions, that will cause the loss of lake ice into the future." The most at-risk lakes are those in southern and coastal regions of the Northern Hemisphere, some of which are amongst the largest lakes in the world. "It is quite dramatic for some of these lakes, that froze often, but within a few decades they stop freezing indefinitely," says Filazzola. "It's pretty shocking to imagine a lake that would normally freeze no longer doing so." The researchers found that when the air temperature was above -0.9 C, most lakes no longer froze. For shallow lakes, the air temperature could be zero or a bit above. Larger and deeper lakes need colder temperatures to freeze—some as cold as -4.8 C—than shallow lakes. A northern lake. Credit: York University Postdoctoral Fellow Alessandro Filazzola "Ice cover is also important for maintaining the quality of our freshwater," says Sharma. "In years where there isn't ice cover or when the ice melts earlier, there have been observations that water temperatures are warmer in the summer, there are increased rates of primary production, plant growth, as well as an increased presence of algal blooms, some of which may be toxic." To preserve lake ice cover, more aggressive measures to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions are needed now, says Sharma. "I was surprised at how quickly we may see this transition to permanent loss of ice cover in lakes that had previously frozen near consistently for centuries." https://phys.org/news/2021-01-northern-lakes-ice-permanently-impacting.html
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204 views · Jan 13th

More from 777 times

Close to 5,700 lakes in the Northern Hemisphere may permanently lose ice cover this century, 179 of them in the next decade, at current greenhouse gas emissions, despite a possible polar vortex this year, researchers at York University have found. Those lakes include large bays in some of the deepest of the Great Lakes, such as Lake Superior and Lake Michigan, which could permanently become ice free by 2055 if nothing is done to curb greenhouse gas emissions or by 2085 with moderate changes. Many of these lakes that are predicted to stop freezing over are near large human populations and are an important source of drinking water. A loss of ice could affect the quantity and quality of the water. "We need ice on lakes to curtail and minimize evaporation rates in the winter," says lead researcher Sapna Sharma, an associate professor in the Faculty of Science. "Without ice cover, evaporation rates would increase, and water levels could decline. We would lose freshwater, which we need for drinking and everyday activities. Ice cover is extremely important both ecologically and socio-economically." The researchers, including Postdoctoral Fellows Kevin Blagrave and Alessandro Filazzola, looked at 51,000 lakes in the Northern Hemisphere to forecast whether those lakes would become ice-free using annual winter temperature projections from 2020 to 2098 with 12 climate change scenarios. A northern lake, Credit: York University Postdoctoral Fellow Alessandro Filazzola "With increased greenhouse gas emissions, we expect greater increases in winter air temperatures, which are expected to increase much more than summer temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere," says Filazzola. "It's this warming of a couple of degrees, as result of carbon emissions, that will cause the loss of lake ice into the future." The most at-risk lakes are those in southern and coastal regions of the Northern Hemisphere, some of which are amongst the largest lakes in the world. "It is quite dramatic for some of these lakes, that froze often, but within a few decades they stop freezing indefinitely," says Filazzola. "It's pretty shocking to imagine a lake that would normally freeze no longer doing so." The researchers found that when the air temperature was above -0.9 C, most lakes no longer froze. For shallow lakes, the air temperature could be zero or a bit above. Larger and deeper lakes need colder temperatures to freeze—some as cold as -4.8 C—than shallow lakes. A northern lake. Credit: York University Postdoctoral Fellow Alessandro Filazzola "Ice cover is also important for maintaining the quality of our freshwater," says Sharma. "In years where there isn't ice cover or when the ice melts earlier, there have been observations that water temperatures are warmer in the summer, there are increased rates of primary production, plant growth, as well as an increased presence of algal blooms, some of which may be toxic." To preserve lake ice cover, more aggressive measures to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions are needed now, says Sharma. "I was surprised at how quickly we may see this transition to permanent loss of ice cover in lakes that had previously frozen near consistently for centuries." https://phys.org/news/2021-01-northern-lakes-ice-permanently-impacting.html
87 views · Jan 13th
204 views · Jan 13th