Researchers have found a “mega canyon” in Greenland tucked under a mile and a half of ice that could rival the size and depth of Arizona’s Grand Canyon, reports Bryan Kahn at Climate Central. The discovery provides insight into how meltwater courses its way underneath the world’s second-largest ice sheet, and how that might affect ice shelves and glaciers at its periphery. Melting ice from Greenland and Antarctica is now the dominant contributor to global sea level rise, which is expected to accelerate in coming decades. Formed by a river well before Greenland’s ice sheet covered it up some 3.5 million years ago, the canyon effectively funnels water from Greenland’s interior to the ocean. The melting processes under the ice have little connection with climate change, but as the water nears the coastal periphery, it can affect the periphery of the ice sheet, particularly the shelves that stretch out into the ocean. There, ice has been slipping into the ocean and melting faster in recent decades. Canyon water flow can help mix up warm waters, helping to form subglacial channels under the shelves, hastening their melt and collapse.
Join the swelling numbers of voters TELLING Congress they’ll vote for Clean Energy candidates here: http://signon.org/sign/we-are-the-clean-99?source=c.em.cp&r_by=487176 . This is an ongoing campaign (the next Congressional election is in less than 2 years!) so please, spread the word. It’s our way of telling Congress that a strong clean energy voting bloc is out there. This is how YOU can make a difference.
For more on Climate Change, check out my weekly column at the HuffingtonPost, Climate Change This Week : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/author/index.php?author=mary-ellen-harte
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