Meltwater is accelerating the movement of Greenland ice
Today’s Video of the Day from NASA Goddard reveals that bottomless sinkholes are funneling meltwater to the base of the Greenland Ice Sheet. This results in increased water pressure that slightly detaches the ice and speeds up the rate at which it flows into the ocean.
With a surface area that is about as big as the size of Mexico, Greenland’s ice is the largest contributor to global sea level rise.
For one particular sliding glacier in southwest Greenland, researchers concluded that the main contributor to its speed was how quickly the water pressure changed within cavities at the base of the ice where meltwater met bedrock.
“Even if the cavities are small, as long as the pressure is ramping up very fast, they will make the ice slide faster,” said Dr. Laurence C. Smith of Brown University.
This is the first time that direct observations have revealed how changes in the volume of water under the Greenland Ice Sheet drive the flow velocities of a glacier.
The study is published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
Video Credit: NASA Goddard
Find more related articlesEnvironment Category
Featured Videos Category