Drone images show Greenland Ice Sheet becoming more unstable as it cracks

This study led by Tom Chudley was published on PNAS (the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) and was reported by University of Cambridge press release and Washington Post.

Tom and co-authors presented combined UAV and in situ records of a rapidly draining supraglacial lake in a fast-flowing sector of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Despite supraglacial lake drainage influencing ice sheet dynamics at a variety of scales, existing in situ studies have been conducted exclusively at the slower, less dynamic land-terminating sector. They describe the scale and extent of dynamic response in a marine-terminating system, and identify 1) spatially distributed behavior not previously observed in in situ studies, and 2) interannual variation unique to fast-flowing glaciers. They propose that many lakes thought to drain slowly are, in fact, draining rapidly via hydrofracture. As such, rapid drainage events, and their net impact on ice sheet dynamics, are being notably underestimated.