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Turbulent convection in Antarctic Subglacial Lakes

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Irena Vankova.

Trapped beneath the Antarctic ice sheet lie over 400 subglacial lakes, which are considered to be extreme, isolated, yet viable habitats for microbial life. The physical conditions within subglacial lakes are critical to evaluating how and where life may best exist. In this talk, I will demonstrate that Earth’s geothermal flux provides efficient stirring of Antarctic subglacial lake water. I will show that most lakes are in a regime of vigorous turbulent vertical convection, enabling suspension of spherical particulates with diameters up to 36 micrometers. Thus, dynamic flows support efficient mixing of nutrient- and oxygen-enriched meltwater derived from the overlying ice, which is essential for biome support within the water column. I will show that a stable layer isolates the well-mixed bulk from the ice-water interface in lakes beneath a thin (

This talk is part of the British Antarctic Survey - Polar Oceans seminar series series.

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