The Greenland Ice Sheet could be under threat from microbes on its surface multiplying faster than they are washed away in a warming climate, according to new research from Aberystwyth University.
The Greenland Ice Sheet is the largest mass of ice in the northern hemisphere.
It covers an area about seven times the size of the United Kingdom and reaching up to 3 km (2 miles) deep.
Its surface harbours a wealth of microbial life, including algae, which can change the ice’s colour by photosynthesising and storing carbon during summer months.
These carbon deposits are removed by natural wash-off by meltwater.
Newly-published analysis in the journal Nature Communications by Aberystwyth University scientists concludes that the amount of these deposits increases faster than they are washed away.