Mobile version

A lake capped by ice

Image of the Month - August 2000

Lake Vostok is a liquid, freshwater lake lying under a three-kilometer blanket of ice in the middle of the Antarctic continent. Here, rather than deforming as it flows (with the steepest slope, from right to left in the image), the ice sheet slides over the water, forming a plateau 40 kilometers across and 100 kilometers long. We have been able to observe this plateau thanks to topographic measurements by the radar altimeter on board the ERS satellites (see Rivers of ice in Antarctica).

Lake Vostok is of great interest to researchers seeking to retrace the history of Earth's climate, as its waters could hold the key to what climate was like several million years ago. Ice cores have already been recovered from the area (marked by the star on the map), but operations have now stopped until we can develop drilling techniques that will enable us to breach the lake's surface without contaminating it. Analyzing these ice cores from deep below the surface allows us to study climate evolution over a period of several million years.

Studying climate history is vital if we are to gain a closer insight into climate variations. By combining this knowledge with altimetry and other data and assimilating it into models, we will be able to predict likely climate changes in the relatively near future.

See also:

Websites on this subject:

Rss feedsContactPartnersFAQLexiconLegal noticePersonal Data Protection PolicyMobile
You must enable cookies in your browser preferences to save the modifications
You are using an older version of Internet Explorer, please update to take full advantage of Aviso+ features

Customize the home page

View all widgets
Reduce display
Public profile
User profile

Select/Deselect widgets

Discover AVISO+

Customizable home, reading tools, products search guide, etc.. Discover step by step the features of the new site AVISO+.

Customizable homepage

This home page is composed of blocks called "widgets".

Rearrange the blocks with a "Click & Drop".

Hide a widget with the cross at the top right. Reset or add a widget with the "wrench" icon. The "User" and "Public" profiles offer a predefined organization.

All the modifications are automatically saved as cookies on your machine so as to enable you to have your own specific AVISO+.

Reading tools

Ease your reading by choosing the page background colour (black/white) and/or by modifying the font size.

Browsing menu and breadcrum trail

To ease your browsing through AVISO+, you can use at any time the main banner items with the interactive submenus or use the browsing menu on the left side of the screen (it is open by default). For more readiness of the page contents, you can fold and unfold the browsing menu by clicking on the tab. At any time you can know where you are thanks to the browsing menu or the breadcrum at the top of the page.

Products search guide

The first submenu of the "Data" banner item leads you to a new search form enabling you to find quickier the product that suits your needs. The list of results is updated according to your selection criteria.

AVISO+ Multimedia

The first submenu of the "Multimedia" banner item leads you to AVISO+ collections of images and videos linked to altimetry and its applications. Have a nice visit!