by Robert Wilkinson
I’ve already written about this on several occasions, since it’s one of the most critical indicators of global warming and WILL make the oceans rise more than a few feet when the ice sheet slips into the Atlantic, wiping out coastlines around the world, disrupting ecosystems, and changing our world forever.
In the new article by Becky Oskin in NBC’s LiveScience titled New Clues to the Plumbing Under Greenland Ice Sheets we read an excellent story describing how the subsurface “ice rivers” under the surface of Greenland’s ice sheets flow through channels and voids where the rocks meet the ice. As it states, “The study suggests that meltwater flows through a different network in the interior of the ice sheet than at its edges,” which is good for slowing the melt even though around the edges it’s quickening due to friction.
From the story:
In the steep canyons at the edge of the ice sheet, near the coast, gusing rivers and streams underneath the ice lubricate glaciers, speeding their flows to the sea. The frictional heat of water flowing down the precipices melts the ice from below, creating channels and cavities. The meltwater must fight to maintain its space against the enormous weight of the ice, which tries to close the voids.Here’s another article from a few weeks ago, also by Becky Oskin, titled Warm and Buttery: Melt Speeds Greenland's Ice Flow that describes the subsurface ice melt and rivers in detail. It seems that Greenland is on a record pace of melting, both around the edges and subsurface. This acceleration WILL affect our entire Earth at some point, since that much ice sliding into the Atlantic could raise sea levels as much as 10-20 feet, affecting all life on earth anywhere near water.
"This study shows that some of the seasonal variation that is well-known on alpine glaciers can indeed be observed near the margin of the ice sheet," Truffer said in an email interview with LiveScience. "But the subglacial plumbing operates differently away from the margins, where the ice sheet is flat and hydraulic gradients are low. This is an interesting area, because it appears to be subject to more water in recent years. Also, if warming persists, we can expect that the area of the glacier bed that can be reached by meltwater will expand inland," he said.
From that article:
For more than a decade, scientists have reported rapid melting and shrinking at many of Greenland’s outlet glaciers, which snake into the ocean. Studies suggest warmer ocean water and rising atmospheric temperatures contribute to the melting ice. The new study finds the interior ice sheet also speeded up its flow to the sea in the past decade, but for a different reason. The ice sheet is changing from within.
"It's not just melt at the edge that's affecting how Greenland is changing,”said Thomas Phillips, lead study author and a glaciologist at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder. "This is a totally different mechanism. It comes from within the ice, and that's why we think this is such an important finding. This ice is changing its behavior as a whole, not just at the edges."
Surface meltwater ponds and lakes form on top of Greenland's ice sheet and glaciers every summer. The water pressure can fracture the surface, creating a vertical drainpipe that carries the surface meltwater into the ice, even down to the rock at its base. The liquid lubricates the ice sheet, helping it slide more easily.
But the researchers also think the meltwater is softening the solid ice, making it deform like a stick of butter. The water transports heat into the chilly interior ice, according to computer modeling by the research team. The softer ice also flows more quickly, the modeling suggests.
By all means go check out both articles, since this will become one of the most urgent problems in our collective future as it continues to speed up and more and more ice slips into the Atlantic. As I noted about 3 years ago, there is no question that our Earth is undergoing various types of climate changes unlike anything known for centuries.
While there are many who have taken a "doom and gloom" attitude toward the coming shifts, I believe that despite the global disruptions in the ecosystems of our planet, if we are open and willing to cooperate with the Earth Herself, we can find ourselves exactly where we need to be doing exactly what we need to be doing as we collectively move through the massive transformations coming for everyone.
We're here to become our Highest Self, doing our Being in ways that we become part of what I've termed "the corrective force of Nature Herself." Though things may become very unstable in the coming months, I am confident that a new world is being birthed, and we can learn to consciously cooperate in making a better way come forth according to our individual skills and our Ray evolutionary path and sub-ray focus.
On a practical note, if you're living in a coastal area, be alert to ways to create more sustainable living and community as the waters slowly rise. And also remember that you cannot grow a garden underwater, or where salt water has a grip on the land. A lot of change is underway.....
© Copyright 2013 Robert Wilkinson