New study: Ancient Ice Age valleys predict the future of Greenland's ice sheets

New study: Ancient Ice Age valleys predict the future of Greenland's ice sheets  A recent research study, published in the Quaternary Science Reviews on October 5, revealed that Ice Age valleys took hundreds of years to form, while transporting large amounts of meltwater under the ice far to the sea. They are known as "tunnel valleys".  Studying the time it took for the massive ice sheets to melt 20,000 years ago is important to understanding the effects of today's warming, and how this affects the melting of glaciers.  Huge valleys Tunnel valleys are huge channels that sometimes reach 150 kilometers in length, 6 kilometers in width and 500 meters in depth. United Kingdom and Western Europe over the past two million years.  According to the British Antarctic Survey's press release , lead author of the study from Cambridge University James Kirkham says, "It's an exciting discovery; we now know that these magnificent valleys were carved as the ice caps melted."  "The latest subsurface imaging techniques and computing models have enabled us to know that tunnel valleys can rapidly form beneath warming ice sheets."  Seismic survey analysis The team analyzed seismic survey images that provide a three-dimensional survey - with amazing detail - of the buried layers of the earth. The last glacier, 20,000 years ago.  Melting ice helps deep tunnel valleys to form within hundreds of years, which is a fast process on geological time scales, and water draining through these tunnels accelerates the melting of more ice.  Discharges from under the ice sheets help balance the flow of ice; A process that could protect modern ice sheets from collapsing in a warm climate.  However, during the examination of the seismic survey samples, the scientists found signs indicating two contradictory motions. one stagnant and one swift for the ice within these valleys; This complicates understanding how these rapidly forming channels will affect the behavior of ice sheets in the future.  Fast formation and mysterious effect What is certain, however, is the rapid rate at which these tunnels are forming, which means that scientists need to consider their future effects, by developing computer models that simulate how ice sheets are evolving today and in the coming decades and centuries.  Today there are no modern analogues for this rapid process, but these ancient valleys - now buried hundreds of meters below the bottom of the North Sea - show the mechanism of how ice sheets respond to extreme warming.  However, current computer models fall short of understanding how water flows slowly, even though discharges in this way are the main factor controlling future rates of ice loss, and ultimately sea level rise.  "The speed with which these giant channels form means that they are an important mechanism, but they are not receiving the attention that is needed today. It is a mechanism that helps balance the stability of ice sheets in a warming world," says study co-author Kelly Hogan.  Maintaining ice balance Therefore, studying tunnel valleys and investigating how these valleys help stabilize ice loss is of great importance, especially in light of the increasing melting of ice sheets today, and consequently sea level rise.  Hogan notes that researchers have been observing "those huge meltwater channels in areas covered by ice sheets for more than a century ago, but we did not understand how these channels formed," and adds that "our results show for the first time that the most likely mechanism is due to the melting of the ice." In the summer, the water then makes its way through the cracks and channels affected by the pressure of the ice cap on it until it ends up forming these huge channels.”  The melting of the ice sheets today in Greenland is important, as the process of water discharge increases in light of rising temperatures. Today, however, the fundamental question is: Will this additional faster or slower flow of melt water through the channels help increase the melting of the ice sheets; Thus, this study highlights a long-overlooked mechanism that may help increase the frequency of ice sheet melt.

A recent research study, published in the Quaternary Science Reviews on October 5, revealed that Ice Age valleys took hundreds of years to form, while transporting large amounts of meltwater under the ice far to the sea. They are known as "tunnel valleys".

Studying the time it took for the massive ice sheets to melt 20,000 years ago is important to understanding the effects of today's warming, and how this affects the melting of glaciers.

Huge valleys
Tunnel valleys are huge channels that sometimes reach 150 kilometers in length, 6 kilometers in width and 500 meters in depth. United Kingdom and Western Europe over the past two million years.

According to the British Antarctic Survey's press release , lead author of the study from Cambridge University James Kirkham says, "It's an exciting discovery; we now know that these magnificent valleys were carved as the ice caps melted."

"The latest subsurface imaging techniques and computing models have enabled us to know that tunnel valleys can rapidly form beneath warming ice sheets."

Seismic survey analysis
The team analyzed seismic survey images that provide a three-dimensional survey - with amazing detail - of the buried layers of the earth. The last glacier, 20,000 years ago.

Melting ice helps deep tunnel valleys to form within hundreds of years, which is a fast process on geological time scales, and water draining through these tunnels accelerates the melting of more ice.

Discharges from under the ice sheets help balance the flow of ice; A process that could protect modern ice sheets from collapsing in a warm climate.

However, during the examination of the seismic survey samples, the scientists found signs indicating two contradictory motions. one stagnant and one swift for the ice within these valleys; This complicates understanding how these rapidly forming channels will affect the behavior of ice sheets in the future.

Fast formation and mysterious effect
What is certain, however, is the rapid rate at which these tunnels are forming, which means that scientists need to consider their future effects, by developing computer models that simulate how ice sheets are evolving today and in the coming decades and centuries.

Today there are no modern analogues for this rapid process, but these ancient valleys - now buried hundreds of meters below the bottom of the North Sea - show the mechanism of how ice sheets respond to extreme warming.

However, current computer models fall short of understanding how water flows slowly, even though discharges in this way are the main factor controlling future rates of ice loss, and ultimately sea level rise.

"The speed with which these giant channels form means that they are an important mechanism, but they are not receiving the attention that is needed today. It is a mechanism that helps balance the stability of ice sheets in a warming world," says study co-author Kelly Hogan.

Maintaining ice balance
Therefore, studying tunnel valleys and investigating how these valleys help stabilize ice loss is of great importance, especially in light of the increasing melting of ice sheets today, and consequently sea level rise.

Hogan notes that researchers have been observing "those huge meltwater channels in areas covered by ice sheets for more than a century ago, but we did not understand how these channels formed," and adds that "our results show for the first time that the most likely mechanism is due to the melting of the ice." In the summer, the water then makes its way through the cracks and channels affected by the pressure of the ice cap on it until it ends up forming these huge channels.”

The melting of the ice sheets today in Greenland is important, as the process of water discharge increases in light of rising temperatures. Today, however, the fundamental question is: Will this additional faster or slower flow of melt water through the channels help increase the melting of the ice sheets; Thus, this study highlights a long-overlooked mechanism that may help increase the frequency of ice sheet melt.
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