Surface melt over the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) is increasing and estimated to account for half or more of the total mass loss. Little, however, is known about the hydrologic pathways that route surface melt within the ice sheet. In this study, we present over-winter storage of water in buried supraglacial lakes as one hydrologic pathway for surface melt, referred to as buried lakes. Airborne radar echograms are used to detect the buried lakes that are distributed extensively around the margin of the GrIS. The subsurface water can persist through multiple winters and is, on average, ~4.2 + 0.4 m below the surface. The few buried lakes that are visible at the surface of the GrIS have a~unique visible signature associated with a darker blue color where subsurface water is located. The volume of retained water in the buried lakes is likely insignificant compared to the total mass loss from the GrIS but the water will have important implications locally for the development of the englacial hydrologic network, ice temperature profiles and glacial dynamics. The buried lakes represent a small but year-round source of meltwater in the GrIS hydrologic system.
Koenig, L. S., D. J. Lampkin, L. N. Montgomery, S. L. Hamilton, J. B. Turrin, C. A. Joseph, S. E. Moutsafa, B. Panzer, K. A. Casey, J. D. Paden, C. Leuschen, and P. Gogineni. "Wintertime Storage of Water in Buried Supraglacial Lakes across the Greenland Ice Sheet." The Cryosphere 9.4 (2015): 1333-342. http://dx.doi.org/10.5194/tcd-8-3999-2014
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