Studies over last couple of years have suggested that the ice sheets in Greenland are melting at a faster rate in recent time. Interestingly, a group of researchers from Lancaster University has found 56 lakes underneath the Greenland ice sheet which brings up the total number of such lakes to 60.
These glacial lakes are formed when water gets trapped below the ice which also supports the lakes with water as the ice melts due to different phenomena. Researchers want to track the changes in these lakes to understand how the region will respond to ongoing climate changes in the coming years. During the course of the latest study, the researchers found total of 56 lakes underneath the ice sheets.
Jade Bowling, PhD student at Lancaster University said, “Researchers have a good understanding of Antarctic subglacial lakes, which can fill and drain and cause overlying ice to flow quicker. However, until now little was known about subglacial lake distribution and behavior beneath the Greenland Ice Sheet.”
“This is important for determining their influence on the wider subglacial hydrological system and ice-flow dynamics, and improving our understanding of the ice sheet’s basal thermal state.”
In the study, published in the journal Nature Communications, the researchers predicted that ongoing climate change will result in higher elevations in future.
Dr Stephen J. Livingstone, Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography, University of Sheffield, added, “The lakes we have identified tend to cluster in eastern Greenland where the bed is rough and can therefore readily trap and store meltwater and in northern Greenland, where we suggest the lakes indicate a patchwork of frozen and thawed bed conditions.”
“These lakes could provide important targets for direct exploration to look for evidence of extreme life and to sample the sediments deposited in the lake that preserve a record of environmental change.”