I’m not quite sure what to make of this1, but it seems interesting, and the video is lovely.
There are two papers: Antarctic ice shelf potentially stabilized by export of meltwater in surface river by Robin E. Bell et al., Nature 544, 344–348 (20 April 2017) doi:10.1038/nature22048:
Meltwater stored in ponds and crevasses can weaken and fracture ice shelves… However, surface rivers forming on ice shelves could potentially export stored meltwater and prevent its destructive effects. Here we present evidence for persistent active drainage networks… on the Nansen Ice Shelf in Antarctica that export a large fraction of the ice shelf’s meltwater into the ocean. We find that active drainage has exported water off the ice surface through waterfalls and dolines for more than a century…
and Widespread movement of meltwater onto and across Antarctic ice shelves Jonathan Kingslake et al., Nature 544, 349–352 (20 April 2017) doi:10.1038/nature22049:
Surface meltwater drains across ice sheets… Numerical models of the Antarctic Ice Sheet that incorporate meltwater’s impact on ice shelves, but ignore the movement of water across the ice surface… we have little understanding of Antarctic-wide surface hydrology or how it will evolve. Here we show widespread drainage of meltwater across the surface of the ice sheet through surface streams and ponds (hereafter ‘surface drainage’) as far south as 85° S and as high as 1,300 metres above sea level. Our findings are based on satellite imagery from 1973 onwards and aerial photography from 1947 onwards. Surface drainage has persisted for decades, transporting water up to 120 kilometres from grounded ice onto and across ice shelves, feeding vast melt ponds up to 80 kilometres long.
Perhaps I’m not really doing my job of interpretation here. Never mind.
2. Female, BTW.
* Constraining the mass balance of East Antarctica by Alba Martín-Español, Jonathan L. Bamber and Andrew Zammit-Mangion.