Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

12/26/2013 (1 year 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 (1 year 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.



---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More Green

More discoveries about Pluto: New Horizons finds second icy mountain range and new moon Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Many people around the world have been celebrating the successful flyby, from the New Horizons NASA program, to the farthest planet in the solar system, Pluto. After the initial success and discovery of the first icy mountain range, the spacecraft found another equally ... continue reading


California farmers given mandate: Stop pumping form the San Joaquin River Watch

Image of A group of farmers has now been ordered to stop pumping water from a branch of the San Joaquin River. The severe measure was in order to protect waterways that are going dry during its drought.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

They were given multiple warnings, but now its official. The State Water Resources Control board has issued a cease and desist order against an irrigation district that has been draining the San Joaquin River. The district has repeatedly failed to obey a ... continue reading


Unusual, new winged dinosaur fossil unearthed in China Watch

Image of

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An almost complete fossil of a feathered bird-like dinosaur was dug up by scientists in northeastern China. Although the creature has wings, they doubt it could really fly, due to its proportion. Scientists speculate the wings were used similarly to the peacock. This ... continue reading


Pluto finally exposed: Pictures from Pluto reach Earth after amazing NASA mission Watch

Image of Images of Pluto, the lone dwarf planet is finally revealed to humankind

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pluto has finally revealed itself to humankind, after being a mystical planet located beyond the depths of the Milky Way for so long. NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has finally sent images of Pluto to Earth last Tuesday. With the lone planet, located 3 billion miles ... continue reading


El Nino to the rescue: Is relief for drought-stricken California on its way? Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Over the years, El Nino has provided relief to drought-stricken areas in the U.S. The current weather forecast predicts hotter and drier weathers will be felt in the eastern part of the world, concerning Australia, Asia and the majority of the Pacific while wetter ... continue reading


Carnivorous plant quits insect-killing ways to become 'bat landlord' Watch

Image of A special species of bat - the Hardwicke's woolly bat-roost inside the plants, and nowhere else. Bat babies were often found snuggled next to their parents.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A most unconventional living arrangement has been struck in the jungles of Borneo. The carnivorous plant, Nepenthes hemsleyana lures bats to nest in its pitcher-shaped leaves. The bats are left undigested, and as part of their agreement, the bats defecate their ... continue reading


Will El Nino bring relief to drought-stricken California? Watch

Image of The State of California, along with the rest of the United States, that is reliant on California's crops to feed it, is praying for rain to end the state's worst drought in history.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The State of California, along with the rest of the United States, that is reliant on California's crops to feed it, is praying for rain to end the state's worst drought in history. Scientists say that El Nino weather patterns could mean more rain down the line - or ... continue reading


Mysterious massive bird migration leaves popular bird location a dead zone Watch

Image of Empty eggs were all that could be found in the once popular bird location.

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Thousands of birds have left the Seahorse Key abruptly, leaving their nests and eggs behind. The mysterious phenomena has left scientists and bird watchers puzzled, especially when they found that the place is negative from any contamination. Biologists explain that ... continue reading


No longer little green men? Aliens may look more like us than traditionally believed Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

People have been conditioned to believe extraterrestrial life, or aliens, will look nothing like us. Aliens are commonly shown with large heads on tiny bodies with a pair of saucer-like eyes. They have long, thin arms and limbs, with the number of fingers being more or ... continue reading


TIME TO ACT: Vatican's Secretary of State says world leaders must heed Pope's encyclical Watch

Image of Cardinal Parolin spoke on the importance of

By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican's Secretary of State, has expressed his hope that Pope Francis' recent environmental encyclical will have a strong impact on the United Nations' three major gatherings this year, and will inspire global powers not only to ... continue reading


All Green News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Exodus 33:7-11; 34:5-9, 28
7 Moses used to take the Tent and pitch it outside ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 103:6-7, 8-9, 10-11, 12-13
6 Yahweh acts with uprightness, with justice to all ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:35-43
35 This was to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet: ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 28th, 2015 Image

St. Innocent I
July 28: Innocent was born at Albano, Italy. He became Pope, succeeding ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter