The ice sheet in this area is grounded up to 2000 m below sea level, making it intrinsically unstable6 and susceptible to rapid melting at its base, and to rapid migration of the grounding line up the ice stream7 (see Marine Ice Sheet Instability). It is remote from any research bases, so flying there means making multiple short flights, making fuel depots to allow scientists to hop to the location. & Padman, L. Antarctic ice-sheet loss driven by basal melting of ice shelves. Pine Island Glacier is currently flowing very quickly and it is accelerating, causing thinning. Increased rate of acceleration on Pine Island Glacier strongly coupled to changes in gravitational driving stress. Over the past 8 years, the Pine Island glacier is losing about 58 billion tons of ice per year. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 280, 51-60 (2009). De Angelis, H. & Skvarca, P. Glacier surge after ice shelf collapse. & Dutrieux, P. Stronger ocean circulation and increased melting under Pine Island Glacier ice shelf. Are these on-going changes unprecedented, or are they part of the normal behaviour for the glacier? Ice Flow of the Antarctic Ice Sheet. These recent findings from Antarctica show that the glaciers are "weakening from all angles," Lhermitte said. Hughes, T. A simple holistic hypothesis for the self-destruction of ice sheets. "We have to act quickly on controlling climate change to preserve our future. You can use Google Earth below to explore the ice stream. It flows, together with Thwaites Ice Stream, into the Amundsen Sea embayment in West Antarctica, and the two ice streams together drain ~5% of the Antarctic Ice Sheet 1. & Vaughan, D.G. The drill camp at the Pine Island Ice Shelf. The Pine Island Glacier is one of the fastest-retreating glaciers in Antarctica because it is shedding ice faster than the glacier is expanding outward. As anticipated, Pine Island Glacier, known as PIG for short, in Antarctica has spawned a huge iceberg. New research suggests the glacier is now shedding ice mass in a manner opposite of what was previously observed. If the icebergs break off at a rate that matches the glacier’s forward flow, the ice front stays in place. 4. 1. that the ice has roughly a third of the density of water (under/over water ratio of the floating blocks). 7. "Typically the ice shelf acts like slow traffic. Geology 39, 691-694 (2011). If you zoom in far enough, you’ll be able to see the huge crack in the ice shelf. [5/n] pic.twitter.com/cCccu3QQTS, The Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers, which sit side by side in West Antarctica on the Amundsen Sea, are among the fastest changing glaciers in the region, already accounting for 5% of global sea level rise. The damage researchers found pointed to a weakening of the glaciers' shear margins -- areas at the edges of the floating ice shelf where the fast moving ice meets the slower moving ice or rock underneath. It is important that we take a longer-term perspective of the current changes observed on Pine Island Glacier. Pine Island Glacier is a cause for concern, because it’s thinning rapidly, steepening, accelerating and receding. Science 324, 901-903 (2009). It is a normal part of life for the floating ice from huge glaciers to fracture near the seaward edge and calve off as icebergs. Located along the coast of the Amundsen Sea in West Antarctica, the enormous Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers already contribute around 5 … 22. This melts the ice shelf from below24, and this melting is probably the cause of the observed ice stream thinning, acceleration and grounding line recession25, which is contributing to a sea level rise of 1.2 mm per decade3. Rignot, E., Mouginot, J. Low lying cloud often makes flying hazardous. What is concerning is the current intense melting, thinning and glacier acceleration observed on Pine Island Glacier ice shelf22. Science 291, 862-864 (2001). Marine sediment cores and swath bathymetry from ships can image the sea floor and detect and date the former behaviour of this ice stream. Is the West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapsing? The catchments of Pine Island Glacier and Thwaites Glacier in the Amundsen Sea Embayment are two of the largest, most rapidly changing, and potentially unstable sectors of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. The days of Antarctica's Pine Island glacier are numbered, but no one really knows what that number is. Scientists say the glaciers are. Colours in addition show the flow speed. Climatic Change 91, 65-79 (2008). Pine Island Glacier in West Antarctica is known for dispensing icebergs into the Amundsen Sea, but the frequency of such events appears to be on the rise. Sea ice between Pine Island Glacier and the newly calved Iceberg B-46, seen in 2018. Jan. 27 (UPI) -- Pine Island Glacier, Antarctica's biggest glacier, continues to lose ice, but its thinning patterns are evolving in increasingly complex and unexpected ways. More work at a higher resolution, combined with modelling studies, is required to fine-tune and better understand the longer-term history of Pine Island Glacier. The shattered Iceberg at Pine Island Glacier, Antarctica on February 11, 2020. An expert judgement assessment of future sea level rise from the ice sheets. Pine Island is also one the fastest-retreating glaciers in Antarctica. The glacier, known as Pine Island, is considered one of the fastest retreating glaciers in Antarctica, where the climate is changing rapidly. It remains difficult to assess how soon a collapse of Pine Island Glacier could occur, but a new paper by Bamber and Aspinall (2013) suggest that there is a growing view that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet could become unstable over the next 100 years16. The white dots show how particles move with the ice which are initially randomly distributed over the ice surface. On Monday. 14. It is out of balance. Nature Clim. … Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Pine Island Glacier is one of the largest ice streams in Antarctica. & Skvarca, P. Glacier acceleration and thinning after ice shelf collapse in the Larsen B embayment, Antarctica. [4/n] pic.twitter.com/HqaPjg8OHv, An example of this preconditioning can be seen in the unprecedented retreat of the @AntarcticPIG ice shelf front over the last years where the ice shelf lost 30% of its area. Science (2011). Nature Geoscience 4, 519-523 (2011). Similarly, the damage to Thwaites Glacier began moving further upstream in 2016 and fractures rapidly started opening up near the glacier's grounding line, which is where the ice meets the rock bed. Researchers monitoring satellite imagery of the Pine Island Glacier (PIG), in west Antarctica, first noticed two large rifts forming in the shelf in 2019. & Cornford, S.L. These data suggest that the recession of this ice stream was largely controlled by sea level rise, with a 55 m in sea level rise during deglaciation resulting in 225 km of grounding-line recession26. "Most of the weakening in this part of Antarctica is coming from below," he said. Journal of Geophysical Research-Earth Surface 112(2007). Thwaites Glacier Mass Balance Schoof, C. Ice sheet grounding line dynamics: Steady states, stability, and hysteresis. The glacier terminus is nearly 120 km wide, and the bed of the glacier reaches to >1000 m below sea level. A huge iceberg just broke off of one of the most fragile glaciers in Antarctica. Despite this interest, Pine Island Glacier is difficult to access. Pine Island Glacier is buttressed by a large, floating ice shelf, which helps to stabilise the glacier, but this ice shelf is itself thinning and recently calved a huge iceberg. Go to top or jump to Marine Ice Sheet Instability. "So if you weaken this slow car, then the ice discharges more rapidly.". Ice Shelf Melting Around Antarctica. The Pine Island Glacier (a.k.a. The ice shelf currently loses around 62.3 ± 5 Gigatonnes per year of ice through calving, and loses 101.2 ± 8 Gigatonnes per year through basal melting24. Chunk of Pine Island Glacier Breaks Away from Antarctica August 7, 2020 A huge piece of ice broke away from Pine Island Glacier in Antarctica, permanently changing the shape of the continent. Bamber, J.L., Riva, R.E.M., Vermeersen, B.L.A. Most dire projection of sea-level rise is a little less likely, reports say. Pine Island Glacier and Thwaites Glacier together account for 3% of grounded ice-sheet area, but they receive 7% of Antarctica’s snowfall 1. And it's a big one. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. & Le Brocq, A.M. Reassessment of the potential sea-level rise from a collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Pine Island Glacier In mid-October 2011, NASA scientists working in Antarctica discovered a massive crack across the Pine Island Glacier, a major ice stream that drains the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Borehole Temperatures at Pine Island Glacier, Antarctica, Version 1 This data set is a time series of borehole temperatures at different depths from three thermistor strings deployed in three boreholes drilled through the Pine Island Glacier ice shelf, Antarctica. Lowe, A.L. It rapidly shrank back from around 16,400 years ago, when rising sea levels made this ice stream more buoyant, causing lift-off, decoupling from the ice sheet’s bed, and recession. Updated 1043 GMT (1843 HKT) September 15, 2020. "We knew they were sleeping giants and these were the ones losing a lot of miles (of ice), but how far and how much still remains a large uncertainty," Lhermitte said. ", What we'll have to endure as the climate crisis gets worse, Hear how the Pfizer vaccine will be distributed, FDA commissioner assures public that science guided vaccine decision, FDA authorizes Pfizer and BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use, Supreme Court rejects Trump's bid to overturn election, Head of Operation Warp Speed: There is no reason for pressure on FDA, Biden says Covid-19 vaccine is 'free from political influence', White House told FDA chief to authorize vaccine or resign. 2. hence that the ice is breaking of because of water pressure from below. An iceberg has broken off Pine Island Glacier (PIG) on the edge of Antarctica, according to satellite images taken Tuesday by the European Space Agency (ESA). In 2015, a nearly 225-square-mile iceberg broke off from the glacier, one of the largest in West Antarctica. Pine Island Glacier is nominally a fun glacier, or at least as fun as a chunk of ice that could collapse and inundate millions of coastal homes can be. Nature 271, 321-325 (1978). Quaternary Science Reviews 38, 11-26 (2012). Calibrated prediction of Pine Island Glacier retreat during the 21st and 22nd centuries with a coupled flowline model. Pine Island Glacier is one of the largest ice streams in Antarctica. The territory's ice sheet is the second biggest in the world behind Antarctica's, and its annual melt contributes more than a millimeter rise to sea levels every year. Mass loss from this basin doubled from 1996 to 2006, and it is the largest ice loss in Antarctica. 21. Pine Island Glacier In mid-October 2011, NASA scientists working in Antarctica discovered a massive crack across the Pine Island Glacier, a major ice stream that drains the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Sea ice between Pine Island Glacier and the newly calved Iceberg B-46, seen in 2018. 20. In one of the fastest-changing areas of the Antarctic ice sheet, satellites have captured the formation of a giant, 300-square-kilometre iceberg. It can dive to 1600 m and travel 400 km, and it has a clever collision avoidance system. It’s acronym is PIG. Over the past three decades, the rate of ice loss from Thwaites and its neighboring glaciers has increased more than five-fold. Can you identify the ice shelf? Hughes T. (1981). As the ice shelf thins, more water is able to circulate beneath it22, exacerbating the problem and encouraging further melting. Pine Island Glacier is one of many outlet glaciers around the perimeter of Antarctica, but observations have shown that this glacier is worth extra attention. Pine Island Glacier is of interest to scientists because it is changing rapidly; it is thinning, accelerating and receding3, all of which contribute directly to sea level, and its future under a warming climate is uncertain.
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