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Thermokarst lakes and bays, Siberia, satellite image

Thermokarst lakes and bays, Siberia, satellite image

C038/6841

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Credit

NASA EARTH OBSERVATORY / LANDSAT / USGS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA EARTH OBSERVATORY / LANDSAT / USGS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Thermokarst lakes and bays. Satellite image of bays in the permafrost on the coast of northern Siberia near the Lyakhov Islands in the East Siberian Sea. This image was obtained in June, when some thawing had revealed features known as thermokarst lakes (round depressions). These lakes form from meltwater as the permafrost slowly thaws. The presence of the water keeps the underlying ground warmer, and the lakes gradually deepen over time. These features are being studied for how they are affected by climate change and how they can contribute to global warming by directly and indirectly releasing gases such as methane and carbon dioxide. The two bays are Omulyakhskaya Bay (upper left) and Khromskaya Bay (lower left). This image, showing an area some 120 kilometres across, was obtained on 15 June 2009 by the Thematic Mapper (TM) sensor on the Landsat 5 satellite.

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