Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.


The plumbing of Greenland's ice

Observations of the water pressure in drilled boreholes and natural moulins on the Greenland Ice Sheet show how its underlying plumbing system controls ice motion during the course of the summer melt season. See Letter p.80

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1: A moulin on the Greenland Ice Sheet.

James Balog/Aurora Photos


  1. Iken, A. & Bindschadler, R. J. Glaciol. 32, 101–119 (1986).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Alley, R. B. et al. J. Geophys. Res. 92, 8921–8929 (1987).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Fountain, A. G. & Walder, J. S. J. Rev. Geophys. 36, 299–328 (1998).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Andrews, L. C. et al. Nature 514, 80–83 (2014).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Mair, D. et al. J. Geophys. Res. Solid Earth 107, B8, 2175 (2002).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Bartholomew, I. et al. Nature Geosci. 3, 408–411 (2010).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Catania, G. A. & Neumann, T. A. Geophys. Res. Lett. 37, L02501 (2010).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Nienow, P. et al. Earth Surf. Process. 23, 825–843 (1998).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Chandler, D. et al. Nature Geosci. 6, 195–198 (2013).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Gordon, S. et al. Hydrol. Process. 12, 105–133 (1998).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Hubbard, B. et al. J. Glaciol. 41, 572–583 (1995).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Murray, T. & Clarke, G. K. C. J. Geophys. Res. Solid Earth 100, 10231–10245 (1995).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Joughin, I. et al. Science 338, 1172–1176 (2012).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Peter Nienow.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Nienow, P. The plumbing of Greenland's ice. Nature 514, 38–39 (2014).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing