Dr. Jesse Johnson shows geothermal heat contributes to Greenland ice melt

An international team that includes University of Montana Computer Science Professor Jesse Johnson has learned that the Earth’s internal heat enhances rapid ice flow and subglacial melting in Greenland.

Johnson, a UM computer science professor and ice-sheet modeler, helped discover that about half of the ice-covered area in north-central Greenland rests on a thawed bed and that the meltwater is routed to the ocean through a dense hydrological network beneath the ice.

The work was published in the April 2016 issue of Nature Geoscience: [link]

“The strength of this paper is that many different lines of reasoning about data lead to the same conclusion,” Johnson said. “I was able to demonstrate that the ice velocities observed by satellite are nearly impossible to explain without the geothermal anomaly discovered here. Glaciologists have long suspected the anomaly exists, but this work quantifies its location and degree and explains why it is there.”

Read more: [link], [link]


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