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LiveScience.com: 125 Large Northern Lakes Disappear
A new study finds 125 large lakes in the Arctic have vanished as temperatures rose over the past two decades. Many other lakes have shrunk.
The lakes once sat atop permanently frozen soil called permafrost. Other studies have shown permafrost is melting around the world, causing low-lying ground to slump and rock to fall from mountains.
"We think that climate warming is thawing the permafrost," said lead researcher Laurence Smith of the University of California, Los Angeles. "It's like pulling the plug out of a bathtub. There's nothing to prevent lake water from percolating through the soil to aquifers below."
Changes seem to come abruptly.
"From what we can tell from space, a lake is either just fine or it's gone," Smith said.