Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

Subglacial Lakes Seen Refilling in Greenland
by Staff Writers
Greenbelt MD (SPX) Jan 26, 2015

Refrozen meltwater ponds in northeast Greenland seen during an April 2013 IceBridge flight. Image courtesy NASA/Michael Studinger.

Scientists using satellite images and data from NASA's Operation IceBridge have found evidence of a drained and refilled subglacial lake beneath northeastern Greenland's Flade Ice Cap. This sub-ice body of water is only one of a handful that have been detected in Greenland and its presence sheds new light on how the Greenland Ice Sheet reacts to warming temperatures.

Subglacial lakes are relatively common in Antarctica, and although recent studies have mathematically predicted possible locations for hundreds of such features in Greenland, few have actually been found. Bodies of water beneath the ice are normally detected either with ice-penetrating radar or by observing rapid changes in ice surface elevation such as bulges or basins.

In a new study funded by the National Science Foundation and published in the Jan. 21 issue of the journal Nature, a research team led by Michael Willis, a glaciologist at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, found a large basin that formed over a 21-day period in the summer of 2011 using satellite images.

The size and rapid formation of this basin was consistent with a drained subglacial lake, but its location raised a question. Where did the water in the lake come from?

Subglacial lakes typically form at the base of an ice sheet or glacier because of either friction or trapped heat from bedrock below.

In order for this to happen, ice needs to move quickly or be thick enough to protect the ice sheet base from cold air at the surface and trap heat coming from the bedrock below. But something else had to be at work here. The research team used weather data and ice thickness measurements from IceBridge flights to calculate the temperature beneath the ice and found that it was well below what's needed for normal basal melt.

Continued observation showed that the basin floor rose significantly during the next summer at the same time that nearby surface meltwater drained into cracks along the basin's edge.

This led the team to hypothesize that water from surface melting was refilling a lake beneath the ice. Snow accumulation and ice movement accounted for a portion of the basin's rise, with meltwater runoff estimates filling in the rest of the increase, supporting the hypothesis.

This finding points to the possibility of similar meltwater-filled subglacial lakes in other parts of Greenland. Existing research has shown an extensive network of sub-ice drainage channels in Greenland that are thought to quickly move surface melt along the bed and to the ocean.

The presence of subglacial lakes in Greenland could affect how parts of the ice sheet move by adding heat to ice at the base and softening. Further research on subglacial lakes in Greenland will likely help researchers improve projections of how the ice sheet will change in response to future warming.

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.
SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only


Related Links
NASA Operation IceBridge
Earth Observation News - Suppiliers, Technology and Application

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Airbus Defence and Space, TerraNIS and ARTAL Technologies join forces
Paris, France (SPX) Jan 14, 2015
Airbus Defence and Space has signed a partnership agreement with TerraNIS, a geo-information services company working in the fields of agriculture, environment and land management, and ARTAL Technologies, a company specialising in software development. This agreement aims to boost the use of services based on satellite imagery by private and public players, both in France and internationally. ... read more

Service Module of Chinese Probe Enters Lunar Orbit

Service module of China's lunar orbiter enters 127-minute orbit

Chinese spacecraft to return to moon's orbit

Russian Company Proposes to Build Lunar Base

Team Working on Strategy to Fix Flash Memory Issue

UA-led HiRISE camera spots long-lost space probe on Mars

Lost and found in space: Beagle 2 seen on Mars 11 years on

Crystal-Rich Rock 'Mojave' is Next Mars Drill Target

Tech barons paint rosy future at Davos despite security fears

U.S. food headed for ISS stalled in Russian customs

US venture capital funding near dot-com boom levels

Singer Sarah Brightman delays space tourist training

China launches the FY-2 08 meteorological satellite successfully

China's Long March puts satellite in orbit on 200th launch

Countdown to China's new space programs begins

China develops new rocket for manned moon mission: media

Russian Cargo Spacecraft to Supply ISS With Black Caviar

Astronauts' year-long mission will test limits

Astronauts prepare for year-long stay on space station

Astronauts take shelter after alarm at space station

Soyuz Installed at Baikonur, Expected to Launch Wednesday

Russian firm seals $1 billion deal to supply US rocket engines

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk wants to shake up satellite industry

Firefly Space Systems and NASA have Inked Space Act Agreement

Three nearly Earth-size planets found orbiting nearby star

Three-Planet System Holds Clues to Atmospheres of Earth-size Worlds

Meteorites weren't exactly the building blocks of young planets

A twist on planetary origins

Laser-generated surface structures create extremely water-repellent metals

New laser-patterning technique turns metals into supermaterials

Satellite telemetry tracks bearded vultures

Japan researchers target 3D-printed body parts

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.