Press "Enter" to skip to content

New heat source discovered in Greenland

Now researchers have discovered a new natural heat source in Greenland that causes the ice to melt from below. This mechanism can be compared to how large dams generate electricity – and seems to surpass these in power.

This is the first time a hole has been drilled a kilometre into the ice in Greenland and it has been possible to observe, the research team investigated a large glacier in western Greenland that a completely new heat source was discovered that originated from melting ice. 

Because when the ice melts, meltwater is formed and on this particular glacier, the meltwater “falls” down a whole kilometre in cracks in the ice, which has now proven to be a process that generates heat.

Similar to the largest pond

The mechanism can be equated with how falling water in power plants or dams generates electricity. During the summer and during periods when the melting is at its greatest, the hydropower from the glacier in Greenland could be compared with that from the world’s largest hydropower plant, the Three Gorges Dam in China. 

Ten hydropower plants together

If you instead look at the whole of Greenland and assume that the same thing happens on other parts of the ice, the researchers believe that the power is even greater. 

Equal melting at the bottom

Basal melting means that the ice melts from the bottom, ie from below. It is an effect of this newly discovered mechanism together with other already known processes.

According to the study, the glacier melts from below up to a hundred times more than calculations without this factor have shown. It will then be about as much as the melting on the surface. 

“Great discoveries are coming all the time”

The discovery and study have been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences .

Future sea level rises may change

Researchers around the world already believe that the melting Greenland ice sheet is the biggest contributing factor to global sea level rises.

If researchers take the discovered mechanism into account when trying to see into the future, it could have an even greater impact.

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: