Subglacial lakes and their changing role in a warming climate

Livingstone, Stephen J., Li, Yan, Rutishauser, Anja, Sanderson, Rebecca J., Winter, Kate, Mikucki, Jill A., Björnsson, Helgi, Bowling, Jade S., Chu, Winnie, Dow, Christine F., Fricker, Helen A., McMillan, Malcolm, Ng, Felix S. L., Ross, Neil, Siegert, Martin J., Siegfried, Matthew and Sole, Andrew J. (2022) Subglacial lakes and their changing role in a warming climate. Nature Reviews Earth & Environment, 3 (2). pp. 106-124. ISSN 2662-138X

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Subglacial lakes are repositories of ancient climate conditions, provide habitats for life and modulate ice flow, basal hydrology, biogeochemical fluxes and geomorphic activity. In this Review, we construct the first global inventory of subglacial lakes (773 in total), which includes 675 from Antarctica (59 newly identified), 64 from Greenland, 2 beneath the Devon Ice Cap, 6 beneath Iceland’s ice caps and 26 from valley glaciers. This inventory is used to evaluate subglacial lake environments, dynamics and their wider impact on ice flow and sediment transport. The behaviour of these lakes is conditioned by their subglacial setting and the hydrological, dynamic and mass balance regime of the overlying ice mass. Regions where climate warming causes ice surface steepening are predicted to have fewer and smaller lakes, but increased activity with higher discharge drainages of shorter duration. Coupling to surface melt and rainfall inputs will modulate fill–drain cycles and seasonally enhance oxic processes. Higher discharges cause large, transient ice flow accelerations but might result in overall net slowdown owing to the development of efficient subglacial drainage. Subglacial lake research requires new drilling technologies and the integration of geophysics, satellite monitoring and numerical modelling to provide insight into the wider role of subglacial lakes in the changing Earth system.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding information: M.J.S. acknowledges funding from NERC grants NE/ G00465X/3, NE/D008638/1 and NE/F016646/2. C.F.D. was supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC 699 RGPIN-03761-2017) and the Canada Research Chairs Program (CRC 950-231237). A.R. was supported by the G. Unger Vetlesen Foundation. This is UTIG contribution 3808. J.S.B. is funded by a UK Natural Environment Research Council PhD studentship (EAA6583/3152) awarded through the ENVISION Doctoral Training Partnership. M.McM. was supported by the European Space Agency’s Polar+ 4D Greenland study (4000132139/20/I-EF) and the UK NERC Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling. R.J.S. was supported by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)-funded ONE Planet Doctoral Training Partnership (NE/S007512/1). J.A.M. acknowledges support from the National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs. Analysis of Antarctica’s Gamburtsev Province Project (AGAP) RES data was supported by a bursary from Antarctic Science Ltd awarded to K.W. A Correction to this paper has been published:
Subjects: F800 Physical and Terrestrial Geographical and Environmental Sciences
F900 Others in Physical Sciences
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Geography and Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Rachel Branson
Date Deposited: 19 Jan 2022 14:23
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2022 03:30

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