The base of the Greenland Ice Sheet is melting at an alarming rate as large quantities of melt water are plummeting off the surface.
This meltwater contributes to greater melt at the ground of the ice sheet and also acts as a lubricant that promotes more rapid flow, increasing the amount of ice thrown into the ocean.
The water which collects on its surface has stored a lot of gravity energy and when it falls, this energy needs to go somewhere.
This study concluded that the Greenland ice sheet produces more energy than the 10 biggest dams in the world put together.
Until now, the scientists had ignored the heat from the water that accumulates at the surface while being drained.
In much warmer months, meltwater accumulates in lakes and streams on the surface of the ice sheet.
Professor Poul Christoffersen from the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge has studied these meltwater lakes through the EU-supported RESPONDER project to determine how and why they are drying out so rapidly and how they affect the overall behaviour of the ice sheet with an increase in global temperatures.