A recent study has revealed that some of the Greenland lakes are losing their water under mysterious circumstances.
Although it used to hold billions of water gallons, two of the Greenland lakes are starting to vanish.
According to researchers from Cornell University and Ohio State University, the meltwater from from these lakes started to overflow the natural plumbing system of the ice sheet, which causes the draining of the lakes.
Ian Howat, a professor of earth sciences at the Ohio State University and one of the scientists involved in the study, reported that the Greenland lakes have been stable for many years and drained in just a matter of weeks; some of these lakes have most of their water in less time.
Professor Howat believes that one of the reasons behind this mysterious water loss could be that the ice sheet beneath the lakes is changing due to global warming.
One of the lakes that once held 6.7 billion gallons of water is now a just a crater that measures approximately 1.2 miles across 230 feet. The lake was discovered 50 km inland from the southwest area of the Greenland coast.
The researchers gathered aerial images which suggest that the lake existed for more than 40 years and drained through a meltwater tunnel that was underneath the ice sheet back in 2011.
The scientists have used data from NASA to calculate how many times the lake emptied and filled since 2012. According to the data, the Greenland lake has filled and emptied two times since then.
Michael Bevis, one of the co-authors of the study, said that this process of filling and emptying of these lakes is worrying. He explained that every time the lake fills with water, the meltwater that is carried has heat stored in it, which can damage the stiffness in the surrounding ice. This makes the ice flow easily out to sea.
Although scientists know that sub-glacial lakes exist, they have never witnessed any of these lakes just draining away.
Professor Bevis explained that if these lakes continue to fill and refill the ice sheet beneath them is going to change irremediably.
Image Source: sci-news