New Insights into Ice Sheet Movement

New Insights into Ice Sheet Movement, Utilizing artificial intelligence, scientists from the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland and the University of Copenhagen discovered that meltwater in tunnels beneath Greenland’s ice sheet changes speed and, in some places, accelerates rapidly towards the ocean. This can boost melting, particularly in a warming climate, which is why the study’s researchers believe it is important to monitor.

Greenland’s ice sheet is massive, accounting for nearly half of all fresh water in the northern hemisphere. However, rising global temperatures are causing it to melt and the world’s oceans to rise. As a result, the movement of the ice sheet is closely monitored. Scientists from the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS) and the University of Copenhagen’s Niels Bohr Institute carried out a study that shows how ice sheet movements appear to be closely associated with meltwater flow beneath the ice.

New Insights into Ice Sheet Movement. The investigators used artificial intelligence to evaluate ice movements, which they can now categorize into four groups based on movement patterns. According to the researchers, this information has been missing. This adds to the understanding of why the velocity of ice at the same location can change over time, which is essential for developing more accurate climate models for, among other things, sea level rise.

Tunnels Beneath the Ice

New Insights into Ice Sheet Movement, When meltwater from the surface reaches the bottom of the ice sheet, it continues to flow mainly toward the ice sheet’s edge via melted channels. The researchers discovered that the shape of these channels, also known as subglacial drainage pathways, influences the movement of the ice above.

If the channels, which act as a drainage system, are ineffective at diverting water away, the pressure at the bottom rises, reducing friction between the ice and the bottom. As a result, the ice is moving faster toward the ocean. If the drainage system is effective, the ice will move more slowly. The drainage system, according to Anne Munck Solgaard, is not a fixed array of pipes or channels of a particular size, but rather pathways that form during the melt season. They do this because, while meltwater can expand drainage systems, ice flow works to close them. As a result, the drainage system can be both efficient and inefficient.

As a result, scientists have been able to see where on the ice sheet ice moves throughout the year. This allows them to gain insight into what is happening under the ice and track how it changes from year to year.

Our results provide a better understanding of how the ice sheet reacts to warmer temperatures and more meltwater, which can help us develop future climate models,” details Dina Rapp, Ph.D. student and co-author of the study.

Huge Amounts of Data Demand Artificial Intelligence

New Insights into Ice Sheet Movement., The scientists utilized artificial intelligence to identify and separate movement patterns in thousands of measurements, which became unmanageable for human analysis very rapidly. According to the study’s co-author, Professor Christine Hvidberg of the Niels Bohr Institute, intelligent computing power is becoming increasingly important.


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