A new paper from the RESPONDER team led by PhD student Tom Chudley has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In it, we present in situ records of a rapidly draining supraglacial lake in a fast-flowing sector of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Despite supraglacial lake drainage influencing ice sheet dynamics at a variety of scales, existing in situ studies have been conducted exclusively at the slower, less dynamic land-terminating sector. We describe the scale and extent of dynamic response during a lake drainage at Store Glacier, and identify (i) spatially distributed behavior not previously observed in in situ studies, and (ii) interannual variation unique to fast-flowing glaciers. We propose that many lakes thought to drain slowly are, in fact, draining rapidly via hydrofracture. As such, rapid drainage events, and their net impact on ice sheet dynamics, are likely being notably underestimated.
You can read more about the research as highlighted by the University of Cambridge Research News team here, or follow up on the international press coverage the research received in publications such as the Washington Post, the Times, and Scientific American.