About Careers Internship MedBlog Contact us

Massive Reservoir of Melt Water Found In Greenland's Ice

by Rukmani Krishna on December 24, 2013 at 10:55 PM
 Massive Reservoir of Melt Water Found In Greenland's Ice

Greenland Ice Sheet stores liquid water all year long, based on the surprising discovery of an aquifer, an underground layer of water-bearing permeable rock, suggest researchers.

The reservoir is known as a "perennial firn aquifer" because water persists within the firn, layers of snow and ice that don't melt for at least one season.


Rick Forster, lead author and professor of geography at the University of Utah, said that of the current sea level rise, the Greenland Ice Sheet is the largest contributor and it is melting at record levels.

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 meltwater runoff and sea levels, Forster asserted.

In 2010, the Forster's team drilled core samples in three locations on the ice for analysis.

Team members returned in 2011 to approximately the same area, but at lower elevation.

Of the four core samples taken then, two came to the surface with liquid water pouring off the drill while the air temperatures were minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit.

The water was found at about 33 feet below the surface at the first hole and at 82 feet in the second hole.

Forster said that the discovery was a surprise because 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.

The aquifer is extensive, covering 27,000 square miles and is similar in form to a groundwater aquifer on land that can be used for drinking water.

"Here instead of the water being stored in the air space between subsurface rock particles, the water is stored in the air space between the ice particles, like the juice in a snow cone," Forster said.

Forster added that the surprising fact is that the juice in this snow cone never freezes, even during the dark Greenland winter as 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.

The study is published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Source: ANI
Font : A-A+



Recommended Readings

Latest Environmental Health

Groundbreaking Study Forecasts 2023 as Hottest Year on Record
As global warming accelerates, the need for immediate and ongoing action to mitigate climate change's catastrophic consequences becomes imperative.
How Forever Chemicals Lead to Delayed Puberty?
Forever chemicals or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) exposure in children, may cause them to mature later during puberty.
Carbon Footprint of a Hospital Bed Calculated
To achieve more substantial reductions in emissions, hospital sustainability efforts must extend their focus beyond the surface.
Most Parents Report Children Facing Poor Air Quality
Most parents in Canada support moving school activities indoors to protect children from poor air quality.
Rising Demand for Bioinsecticides Reflects a Transition to Eco-Friendly Agriculture
The increasing demand for bioinsecticides reflects a broader shift toward sustainable agriculture, prioritizing long-term ecological health and food security.
View All
This site uses cookies to deliver our services.By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use  Ok, Got it. Close
Greetings! How can I assist you?MediBot

Massive Reservoir of Melt Water Found In Greenland's Ice Personalised Printable Document (PDF)

Please complete this form and we'll send you a personalised information that is requested

You may use this for your own reference or forward it to your friends.

Please use the information prudently. If you are not a medical doctor please remember to consult your healthcare provider as this information is not a substitute for professional advice.

Name *

Email Address *

Country *

Areas of Interests