Bacteria in Subglacial Environments
Glaciers exist where the annual temperature remains cold enough to allow snowfall to accumulate for an extended period of time and where conditions allow subsequent metamorphosis to ice. Glacial ice forms expansive continental ice sheets in the polar regions, (e.g., in Antarctica and Greenland), and at lower latitudes, ice fields (valley or alpine glaciers) and ice caps (if a volcano or mountain range is completely glaciated) exist globally at high altitude. Temperate glaciers comprise <4% of the glacial ice on the planet, but are important freshwater reservoirs and are often the sources for major rivers vital for irrigation, industry, and providing millions of people with drinking water. The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets currently cover ~10% of the terrestrial surface (>1.5×107 km2) and contain ~75% of the freshwater on Earth (Paterson 1994). The Antarctic ice sheet alone contains ~90% of the planet's ice and, if melted, would result in a sea level rise of ~65 m (The National Snow and Ice Data Center; http://nsidc.org/).
KeywordsCryoconite Hole Temperate Glacier Subglacial Lake Vostok Station Subglacial Environment
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