Scientists were puzzled about a year ago after meltwater lakes on Greenland’s ice sheet abruptly drained out at rates equaling that of the Niagara Falls. The water didn’t really disappear, they just transferred to other locations. From the icy glaciers of Greenland, to the warmer environs of the oceans.
This group of U.S. specialists has analyzed the unusual occurrence which could help them gauge worldwide ocean level rise.
Vertical shafts in the ice sheet, called moulins, can pipe melt water underneath parts of the icy mass and lift them up. This brings about breaks underneath the supraglacial lakes that can drain them in days, as indicated by the scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology-Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (MIT/WHOI) Joint Program in Oceanography.
Emptying lakes can quicken ocean level rise by the sudden infusion of extensive volumes of water into the sea and greasing up the stream of ice seaward. Be that as it may, the discovery recommends that just lakes at lower, hotter elevations on the ice sheet called moulins are more common are susceptible, according to the study published in the journal Nature.
“The trigger is less likely to occur at lakes at higher elevations on the ice sheet — even though water volumes in those lakes can be large,” according to the research.
“Our discovery will help us predict more accurately how supraglacial lakes will affect ice sheet flow and sea level rise as the region warms in the future,” lead author Laura Stevens wrote in a Woods Hole press release.
Researchers at Ohio State and Cornell University explained about a year ago that two lakes on the Greenland ice sheet that had held billions of gallons of water had strangely vanished.