Skip to content

Perpetually massive, liquid lake found under Greenland

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
12/26/2013 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Called a 'perennial firn aquifer,' lake remains in liquid state despite freezing temperatures

As they teach children in elementary school, in spite of their names, the nation of "Iceland" is beautiful and a verdant green; "Greenland" is icy and remote. Their names, children are taught, were in order to throw explorers off so those who discovered Iceland could keep it all to themselves! However - a perpetually liquid lake has been discovered under Greenland, giving scientists pause.

There is a sense of urgency about the discovery. The consequences of losing the Greenland Ice Sheet could be catastrophic.

There is a sense of urgency about the discovery. The consequences of losing the Greenland Ice Sheet could be catastrophic.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
12/26/2013 (3 years ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: Greenland, lake, climate change, perennial firn aquifer


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The massive, 43,500 square kilometer body of water is known as a "perennial firn aquifer." It remains liquid year-round despite the otherwise perpetually frozen landscape.

The discovery could have major implications for understanding sea level rise. According to researchers at the University of Utah, "Large amounts of snow fall on the surface late in the summer and quickly insulates the water from the subfreezing air temperatures above, allowing the water to persist all year long," Rick Forster, lead author and professor of geography at the University of Utah says.

Sprawling, the Greenland Ice Sheet covers roughly the same area as the states of California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah combined. The average thickness of the ice is 5,000 feet. The ice sheet lost volume of 60 cubic miles, in 2012 was a record for melt and runoff.

"Of the current sea level rise, the Greenland Ice Sheet is the largest contributor - and it is melting at record levels," Forster says. "So understanding the aquifer's capacity to store water from year to year is important because it fills a major gap in the overall equation of melt water runoff and sea levels."

Forster's team over the past three years has measured snow accumulation Greenland and its variables from year to year. The area they study covers 14 percent of southeast Greenland but receives 32 percent of the entire ice sheet's snowfall, but there has been little data gathered.

The team drilled core samples in three locations on the ice in 2010 for analysis. Returning the following year to approximately the same area, at a lower elevation, two of the core samples came to the surface. Liquid water poured off the drill as air temperatures were minus 20 degrees centigrade. Discovered at about 10 meters below the surface at the first hole and at 25 meters in the second hole, the water proved to be quite a surprise.

"Although water discharge from streams in winter had been previously reported, and snow temperature data implied small amounts of water, no one had yet reported observing water in the firn that had persisted through the winter," Forster says.

There is a sense of urgency about the discovery. The consequences of losing the Greenland Ice Sheet could be catastrophic. If all the water retained in the ice sheet melted, it is estimated that the global sea level would rise about six meters, Forster says. Maintaining a steady watch on ice formation, runoff amounts and how the water is moving is critical to accurately predicting sea level changes.

---


'Help give every student and teacher Free resources for a world-class moral Catholic education'


Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for OCTOBER 2017
Workers and the Unemployed.
That all workers may receive respect and protection of their rights, and that the unemployed may receive the opportunity to contribute to the common good.


Comments


More Green

Has Pope Francis violated the 8th Commandment, speaking out against climate skeptics? Watch

Image of Pope Francis has made clear that care for creation is a major concern of the Church and humanity.

Pope Francis has issued a stinging rebuke against those who deny that human-caused global warming is real. He called the notion a "perverse ... continue reading


Warning from scientists, the end of the world is near Watch

Image of According to Malthus, overpopulation leads to widespread poverty and misery. Other economists disagree and say more people means more people making more stuff, which increases the collective standard of living. Both appear to be right, but with Malthus likely to have the last word.

More than 1,500 scientists have issued a warning to humanity, stating that our activities, and life as we know it are on a collision ... continue reading


Scientists discover the Egyptians also recorded the day the sun stood still, and now we know when it happened Watch

Image of The sun may not have literally stood still. Instead, the original Hebrew suggests and eclipse rather than a suspension of the laws of physics.

Scientists have discovered the exact date when the sun stood still in the book of Joshua. The discovery was made using an Egyptian source ... continue reading


Another year without summer ahead? TWO volcanoes threaten catastrophic eruptions Watch

Image of Over 120,000 people have been evacuated on the island of Bali, away from the slopes of Mt. Agung, which is about to erupt.

Two volcanoes are about to erupt almost simultaneously, spewing massive quantities of ash and soot into the air. Scientists have warned ... continue reading


7.1 quake rattles Mexico City, scores dead Watch

Image of The powerful quake was felt as far away as Guadalajara.

A 7.1 quake has rocked Mexico City. Buildings swayed and people dove for cover, but there are now some reports of damage.At least 42 people ... continue reading


Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Information
Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Services
Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

The California Network
Inspiring streaming service

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on catholic.org

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Catholic Online Singles
Safe, secure Catholic dating

The California Studios
World-class post production service

Education
Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

Catholic Online MasterClass
Learn from experts

School Teachers
Teacher lesson plans & resources

Catholic Media Missionaries
The New Evangelization

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Socials
Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.