According to new research, melting ice below the surface of Greenland can cause a huge underground river to melt forever.
Nicknamed ‘Dark River’, this imaginary waterway – if it actually exists, that is – can span 1,000 kilometers (620 mi), from the deep interior of Greenland to the Peterman Fjord in the northwest of the country. .
“The results are consistent with a long subsurface river,” says ice sheet modeler Christopher Chambers of Hokkaido University in Japan, but considerable uncertainty remains. “
That uncertainty largely stems from significant gaps in radar data from aerial surveys above Greenland’s ice sheet, which over the years have revealed fragmented glimpses of what looks like a vast, subglacial valley system stretching beneath large parts of Greenland. .
Several studies over the past few decades have suggested trenches, valleys, or “mega-canyons” that may be hidden in subglacial environments, and have also led to the idea that liquid water may flow to the bottom of the facilities.
However, due to gaps in the data – given the sorting of aerial flights that map these deep contours – it is not known whether all the valleys are associated with segments of a long, snaking river or disconnected event, let alone how the water may fall below is. there.
“We do not know how much water, if any, is available to flow into the valley, and if it actually passes out on the Peterman Fjord or is refrozen, or escapes the valley,” the chamber says.
In a new study, designed as a ‘thought experiment’, Chambers and his team explore the hypothetical possibility that the valley is not broken into individual pieces, but runs continuously across a long river.
Such a possibility is plausible, they say, given the division seen in modeling before now can be an illusion – phantom heights resulting from misleading modeling in data-sparse regions rather than regional features.
The author writes in his new paper, “Where it rains, the radar projected the data to fill the gaps between reliable data.” “This shows that the valley cannot grow.”
In the new modeling, researchers assumed that the Dark River is indeed a continuous feature. Based on that scenario, the simulation suggested that the waterway flows from the center of Greenland towards the sea, with liquid water passing through the uninterrupted route.
“Along its length, the path to the valley gradually rises down an ice surface slope, reducing the pressure above the ice that may enable water flow its way,” the team writes.
Although the findings are hypothetical for now, researchers believe that future aerial surveys may one day be able to confirm simulations.
If so, it would not tell us that the Dark River is real, but it would also mean that we have reached a new level of being able to model the behavior of Greenland’s ice sheet – a highly complex and mysterious one. Comprehensive effect of predicting future sea level rise of the body.
The findings are stated in Cryosphere.
This article was originally published by ScienceAlert. Read the original article here.