New NASA research found that large crevasses provide aquifer water upstream of Greenland’s Helheim Glacier with a clear escape to the ocean. This discovery helps confirm that the water, which is held in a layer of crunchy, granular snow called firn, contributes to sea level rise.

Related vocabulary: Meltwater is water that’s created from the warming of snow and ice, especially from a glacier. An aquifer is rock that delivers water into wells, springs, and other water collection areas. Firn is dense, recrystallized snow that can sometimes trap or transmit water like rock can.

Next: The Hidden Perils of Permafrost and Climate Change 101 with Bill Nye + solutions great and small.

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