Global warming is a question of emergency now, rather than a theory that brings controversy and open debates inside research institutes, among activists and nature frenzy fanatics. It seems that nature takes its course, as human development and evolution has taken over natural habitats, has destroyed environments and has been affecting the natural way in which life conditions were built in remote areas, now defined by business numbers rather than richness in biodiversity.
Greenland faces some major changes, as huge lakes atop the area are vanishing. Geoscientists have now solved a decade’s long mystery in regards to the way some of the very large lakes near the Greenland ice sheet have drained billions of gallons of water in a matter of hours.
It all started back in 2006, when Greenland’s North Lake, a huge water mass defined by a 2.2 square mile supraglacial meltwater, drained no less than 12 billion gallons of water in two hours. It seems that this dramatic and rapid phenomena happens because of the giant hydro-fractures that form directly beneath the lake basin and then stretch down to the bed of the ice sheet.
This way, the lake becomes completely emptied of water, leaving behind degraded areas. Anyhow, the fractures are just the tip of the iceberg of the theory, as geologists and scientists still don’t know how these fractures could have appeared.
One theory, recently published in a study that can be entirely read in the journal Nature, reveals that the hydro-fractures could have formed from tension-related stress that always appears as a cause of movements of the ice sheet. Consequently, the movements are an effect of the trickling meltwater.
Besides the rational and logical reasons that stand behind this natural phenomena, it is nevertheless worrying how the changes in nature happen so quickly. Time and nature don’t have the patience anymore to support and sustain all human intervention that has modified natural courses and as the technological progress happened in the last hundreds of years.
Philosophers used to say that there is always a crack in something and that is where the light gets in. In terms of glacial water, the crack is where all the light of the watery surface gets out and gets drained for good, which should make us wonder whether it wouldn’t be simply good to stop for a while and reconsider our actions.
Over three years three draining effects have happened and all these were measured and captured with the help of a network of GPS placed around the lakes. As temperatures raise, more lakes are yet to be formed but seemingly, their contribution to future sea level rise could not be as great as imagined. Lakes will most probably be formed into the interior of the Greenland ice sheet where conditions are not right for lake-drainage events to occur. This doesn’t put a stop on Greenland melting and contributing widely to sea level change.
The future sounds global warming, the future sounds worrying.
Image Source: danielbeltra.photoshelter.com