Figure 1: Illustration of ice melting and subglacial lake forming and anomalously high  bedrock geothermal heat flow (light red shading) located beneath Greenland's Ice Sheet
(Image credit University of Lancaster and University of Sheffield, red labels by J. Kamis)


Yet another major research study, five if you are counting, has come to the same conclusion as the previous four studies all stating that accelerated basal melting of Greenland's above sea level glacial ice sheet is largely the result of anomalously high bedrock geothermal heat flow.

High heat flow that according to the combined areas of the four previous studies (NASA, Aarhus University, University of Kansas, University of Maryland) is present beneath 50% of Greenland's Glacial Ice Sheet as per Figure 2.


Figure 2


Also, of interest on Figure 2 are outlines of above sea level high bedrock heat flow areas bordering Greenland, specifically the Svalbard Islands Hotspot and Iceland Mantle Plume which are both fueled by hot molten lava and heat flow from a deep inner earth reaching fault system termed the  Mid-Arctic Spreading Center . The reader is directed to previous Climate Change Dispatch articles that summarize the results of these four research studies and their impact on Arctic climate and climate related events here, here, here, and here.   

Now onto discussion of the just released research study by the University of Lancaster and University of Sheffield.  Research that established for the very first time the existence of numerous, an estimated fifty-four, subglacial lakes beneath Greenland's vast glacial ice sheet.  Study researchers attributed the generation of these lakes to numerous factors, most notably geologically induced high bedrock heat flow which within their manuscript and figures is termed "enhanced geothermal heat flux".  This study is of special interest because it provides detailed information that can be utilized to formulate a detailed explanation of how bedrock heat flow acts to create Greenland's subglacial lakes as follows:

  • Many of the subglacial lakes highlighted on Figure 1 are positioned in long linear bedrock valleys. This geological configuration is indicative of valley generation by long linear faults some of which uplift long linear hills and others which act to down drop long linear valleys. This very common geological process acts to form long linear water catchment basins worldwide.

  • It is here contended that these long linear fractured fault planes, especially the very active ones, tap downward into deep and thereby higher temperature geothermally heated rocks. This acts to provide a vertical conduit for this elevated heat area upward onto areas adjacent to the fault plane / overlying glacial ice interfaces. Heat flow that acts to bottom melt glacial ice which supplies meltwater to fill four-way closed catchment basins.  

  • The researchers so-called "isolated" subglacial lakes designation (Figure 1) is an admission that they could not establish a connection of subglacial lakes to overlying glacial ice surface meltwater.  It is here hypothesized that this so-called isolation is an indication of areas where the fault induced heat flow has not yet punched upward to the glacial ice / atmospheric interface. Non-isolated long linear subglacial lakes with a connection to the glacial ice / atmospheric interface are areas where the fault induced heat flow aided by fault induced fracturing of the overlying ice has punched through to the glacial ice / atmospheric interface.

  • Further proof of fault involvement in subglacial lake development is demonstrated on the researchers Figure 3 which illustrates the long linear straight alignment of multiple subglacial lakes (red line) which perfectly match known fault trends (red line) in this area.


Figure 3: Subglacial lakes as circles. Faults red per J. Kamis


In, summary, it's way past time for the media, responsible scientific organizations, and political entities seeking truth to step forward an inform the public of the significant, here contended to be dominant, role of Greenland's extensive high bedrock heat flow in melting glacial ice.

Silence by these entities is no longer a truthful option because it indirectly supports the notion that manmade atmospheric warming is the 100% proven cause. It's not.