Some ponds are just dried mud, researchers find

Water levels continue to drop


Ponds on Ellesmere Island's Cape Hershel are still drying up, says a researcher who is now on site.

In July 2006, two researchers, John Smol from Queen's University and Marianne Douglas from the University of Alberta were astounded to see many ponds empty and etched with cracked soil. The surrounding mossy wetlands had become tinder-dry.

"The ponds are in the same situation," said Marianne Douglas from University of Alberta in a satellite telephone call from Cape Herschel.

Douglas says water levels are lower than ever, and dried mud is all that's left of some ponds and wetlands.

Since 1983, Douglas and John Smol from Queen's University have tracked the water levels in these ponds and analyzing the water. Due to the high salt levels in the water, they determined water in these ponds is evaporating due to warming.

Earlier this month Chinese scientists reported two of China's great rivers are shrinking because of climate change.

The wetlands, lakes and glaciers that feed the Yangtze and Yellow rivers have shrunk over the past 40 years, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Scientists from the Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment monitored the source of the two rivers in the Tibetan Plateau in western China, and found wetlands had shrunk, nearly one in five of the small lakes at the source of the Yangtze have dried up and the area of the glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau has shrunk by 30 per cent.

Last month, a glacial lake in southern Chile developed a crack that allowed the water to drain away. Water flowed through the crack into a nearby fiord and from there into the sea.

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