Fifty-six hitherto unknown lakes under the Greenland Ice Sheet have been mapped by researchers using aerial instruments to gain a deeper understanding of how the world's ice landscape may change in the face of climate change.
Overall, this is the first survey of subglacial lakes under the Greenland ice sheet, raising the total number in the region to 60, which makes water deposition more common than previously thought.
"This is important to determine their influence on the wider subglacial hydrological system and the dynamics of the ice flow and to improve our understanding," said senior author Jade Bowling of Lancaster University of the basic heat state of the ice cover. "
Subglacial lakes are lakes that form beneath the ice sheets and play a role in raising global sea levels, contributing to our understanding and where water is found in the world and how it drains away. To determine the role of Greenland's ice sheet on the planet's hydrological system, researchers analyzed 500,000 kilometers (over 31
"Researchers have a good understanding of sub-glacial Antarctic lakes that can fill and drain more quickly than ice lying on ice, but little was known about the distribution and behavior of subglacial lakes beneath the Greenland ice sheet", said Bowling.
The lakes under the Greenland ice sheet also differ from those in the Antarctic in that they are mostly small and small in size: an estimated 40 percent of Antarctic lakes are active compared to nearly 7 percent of Greenlandic lakes. In Nature Communications, the researchers identified three formation zones: stable lakes to the north and east, out of the inland, charged hydrologically active lakes through superficial meltwater, and small, seasonally active lakes that form over the winter and drain season during melting.
The ice sheets now seem relatively stable z u, but the authors note that a warming climate at higher altitudes can transform meltwater into lakes and streams. The drainage of this water into the bed could cause the subglacial lakes to become active.
"The lakes we have identified tend to gather in East Greenland, where the bed is rough, and therefore can easily catch and store meltwater, and in northern Greenland, where we suggest that the lakes converge Point out a patchwork patch of frozen and thawed bed, "said study author Stephen Livingstone. "These lakes could be important targets for direct exploration to find clues about extreme living conditions and to study lake sediment that contains environmental change records."