Ice in Greenland is melting partly because of heat from the Earth's mantle, according to a team of international researchers.The group claims that they are the first to find a connection between melting of the Greenland ice sheet and the high heat flow from the Earth’s mantle.The findings, they suggest, could have implications for future predictions on climate change and the reasons behind ice melt in the region.
‘The temperature at the base of the ice, and therefore the current dynamics of the Greenland ice sheet is the result of the interaction between the heat flow from the earth's interior and the temperature changes associated with glacial cycles,’ said Irina Rogozhina who initiated IceGeoHeat.
‘We found areas where the ice melts at the base next to other areas where the base is extremely cold.’
The current climate is influenced by processes that go far back into the history of Earth: the Greenland lithosphere is 2.8 to 1.7 billion years old and is only about 70 to 80 km thick under Central Greenland.
The researchers believe that the coupling of models of ice dynamics with thermo-mechanical models of the solid earth allows a more accurate view of the processes that are melting the Greenland ice.