pine island glacier ice shelf

Nature 271, 321-325 (1978). & Vaughan, D.G. Geophysical Research Letters 36, L17501 (2009). Journal of Glaciology 27: 518-525. 4. The recently calved iceberg may be 720 km2, but that’s the least of this ice stream’s worries. , Sensitivity of the ice shelf ocean system to the sub-ice shelf cavity shape measured by NASA IceBridge in Pine Island Glacier, West Antarctica. 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. | Pine Island Glacier ice shelf | Pine Island Glacier: the longer term view | Conclusions | References | Comments |. & Scheuchl, B. 16. Glaciol. 25. Meltwater production underneath the ice shelf increased by 50% from 1994 to 2011; this increased melting results from stronger sub-ice-shelf circulation. & Dutrieux, P. Stronger ocean circulation and increased melting under Pine Island Glacier ice shelf. Sensitivity of 21st century sea level to ocean-induced thinning of Pine Island Glacier, Antarctica. Most of this transport to the sea is by ice streams (faster moving channels of ice surrounded by slower mo… Science 324, 901-903 (2009). A series of instruments, including a small, tube-shaped robot called Icefin, were deployed to collect data and capture the very first footage of this mysterious realm. The latest returns from the MODIS instrument on NASA’s Terra satellite suggest the western portion of the recently calved ice, including the largest iceberg, has rapidly rotated out into Pine Island Bay, according to NASA glaciologist Christopher Shuman. A large, long-running crack was plainly visible across the ice shelf. The ice shelf around Pine Island Glacier is currently thinning, and it is warmed from below by Circumpolar Deep Water that flows onto the continental shelf 22,23. In 2015, an iceberg measuring almost 225 square miles (580 square kilometers) broke off from the Pine Island Glacier, which forms part of the ice shelf that bounds the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Scott, J.B.T., Gudmundsson, G.H., Smith, A.M., Bingham, R.G., Pritchard, H.D. This type of calving is common on polar ice shelves, with no clear connection to ocean‐ice dynamic forcing. Removal of the ice shelf would likely result in rapid acceleration, thinning and recession as the glacier adjusts to new boundary conditions; these reactions have been observed following ice shelf collapse around the Antarctic Peninsula17-21. The velocity is well above that required to maintain mass balance – so the ice stretches longitudinally, and thins vertically3. Look for more imagery of the crack coming soon. Sea ice keeps ships away, making it difficult to access the ice stream from the ocean. An active volcano has been unexpectedly discovered beneath a rapidly vanishing glacier in Antarctica by a team of scientists studying the melting ice shelf. According to the European Space Agency (ESA), Pine Island Glacier’s ice velocity has accelerated to exceed 33 feet per day. De Angelis, H. & Skvarca, P. Glacier surge after ice shelf collapse. Mercer, J.H. The Antarctic ice sheetis the largest mass of ice on earth, containing a volume of water equivalent to 57 m (187 ft) of global sea level. By Julia Jacobo. The first measurement of Pine Island Bay in 1994 indicated that the basal melt rate in PIG ice shelf was 12 ± 3 m yr −1 [Jacobs et al., 1996], and this estimate was consistent with the glacier mass balance of upstream input, frontal calving and surface mass balance, derived from satellite and in situ observations [Jenkins et … Jenkins, A., Dutrieux, P., Jacobs, S.S., McPhail, S.D., Perrett, J.R., Webb, A.T. & White, D. Observations beneath Pine Island Glacier in West Antarctica and implications for its retreat. This photo shows the ice front of the ice shelf in front of Pine Island Glacier, a major glacier system of West Antarctica. If you zoom in far enough, you’ll be able to see the huge crack in the ice shelf. The shear zone is located where the glacier meets the ice shelf, which acts as a braking system that slows the downstream flow of the glaciers towards the sea. On the ice-covered edge of a remote West Antarctic bay, the continent’s most imperiled glaciers threaten to redraw Earth’s coastlines. Do we want that? & Cornford, S.L. 23. It periodically, every 10 or so years, calves large icebergs – but on their own, they are not worrisome. The Pine Island Glacier, called the weak underbelly of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, is rapidly losing ice to the sea. Ice Shelf Melting Around Antarctica. Warm water beneath Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier is melting the ice shelf at a rate of about 2.4 inches (6 centimeters) per day, according to a new study. 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. As Pine Island’s ice shelf weakens, so does this buttressing force, ... “All in all, not good news for the inland ice flowing out from Pine Island Glacier… Ominously known as marine ice cliff instability, this scenario has the potential to trigger rapid losses of ice across West Antarctica. The images below show how much of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, especially around Pine Island Glacier, is grounded well below sea level. A collapse of Pine Island Glacier could occur within 1000-2000 years, raising sea levels by up to 1.5 m, but it is unlikely to contribute to more than 2.7 cm of sea level rise over the next 100 years. It suggests: Dutrieux, P and 6 others (2013) Pine Island Glacier ice shelf melt distributed at kilometre scales. 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 Sheet1. http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/11/is-pine-island-glacier-the-weak-underbelly-of-the-west-antarctic-ice-sheet/. What is the global volume of land ice and how is it changing? An expert judgement assessment of future sea level rise from the ice sheets. 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. The ice shelf base of across-profiles III and IV does not change much in depth but the basal channel itself widens. “The weak underbelly of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet”. Pine Island Glacier (PIG) Research Team: Robert Bindschadler (NASA Emeritus) You can use Google Earth below to explore the ice stream. Previous investigations of this glacier, based on Landsat images of the early to mid-1970s, estimated a velocity of 2.1-2.4 km/yr at the ice … It calved a large iceberg in 2001, and in 2011 a huge rift developed on the ice shelf. dimensional view of Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets, ice shelves and sea ice. The area drained by Pine Island Glacier comprises about 10% of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Autosub is a remotely operated vehicle, loaded with sensors that measure temperature, salinity, pressure and so on, and it can map the sea bed using downward-pointing swath bathymetry. The image was taken during the NASA/Centro de Estudios Cientificos, Chile (CECS) Antarctic campaign of Fall 2002. & Le Brocq, A.M. Reassessment of the potential sea-level rise from a collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Joughin, I., Smith, B.E. Nature Clim. Glasser, N.F., Scambos, T.A., Bohlander, J.A., Truffer, M., Pettit, E.C. The area … It reached its current position around 10,000 years ago27. Mass loss from this basin doubled from 1996 to 2006, and it is the largest ice loss in Antarctica. Journal of Geophysical Research-Earth Surface 112(2007). Over the past 40 years Pine Island and Thwaites Glacier have contributed ~5 mm to global sea level rise. Nature Geosci 1, 106-110 (2008). Home » Antarctica » West Antarctic Ice Sheet » Pine Island Glacier, Investigating Pine Island Glacier | Why is Pine Island Glacier important? However, scientists have several ingenious ways in which they can observe changes to this fragile, important ice stream. Finally, scientists on board ships have deployed ‘Autosub’ beneath the very ice shelf, to make observations where no man can go. Pine Island Glacier (PIG) in West Antarctica drains out to the Amundsen Sea through Pine Island Glacier Ice Shelf (PIGIS). For Pine Island, it’s the latest in a string of dramatic calving events that scientists fear may be the prelude to an even larger disintegration as climate change thaws the frozen continent. Pine Island Glacier flows at rates of up to 4000 m per year2. Wingham, D.J., Wallis, D.W. & Shepherd, A. Spatial and temporal evolution of Pine Island Glacier thinning, 1995-2006. Calving events like this don’t contribute to sea level rise directly, because floating ice shelves are already displacing water. Inland thinning of Pine Island Glacier, West Antarctica. & Davies, B.J. If the ice isn’t in fact that surprisingly low density, I would suggest you correct that. “The event will undoubtedly evolve,” he says. The ice stream is heavily-crevassed and dangerous, so walking on it is difficult. Jacobs, S.S., Jenkins, A., Giulivi, C.F. 12. “All in all, not good news for the inland ice flowing out from Pine Island Glacier,” Shuman says. Journal of Glaciology 57, 397-406 (2011). Low lying cloud often makes flying hazardous. 2008, you can see that mass losses from Pine Island Glacier and Thwaites Glacier dominate Antarctic Ice Sheet ice losses. Rignot, E., Mouginot, J. What is the ice volume of Thwaites Glacier? The recession of the ice stream was also controlled by the presence or absence of ice shelves. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Under the A1B “Business as Usual” emissions scenario from the IPCC (2.6°C warming by 2100), Gladstone et al. 6. A rift in Pine Island Glacier ice shelf in West Antarctica, photographed on November 4th, 2016. Much of this ice loss is from Pine Island Glacier, which has thinned since at least 1992, driven by changes in ocean heat transport beneath its ice shelf and retreat of the grounding line. The so-called grounding line where the glaciers make contact with bedrock lies below sea level, meaning it’s vulnerable to attack by warm ocean water. Indeed, Pine Island’s ice has been flowing out to sea faster since the 1990s, with the ice stream now moving at a rate exceeding 35 feet per day, according to Drinkwater. 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. It’s about eight times the size of New York, or half the size of Greater London, at 720 km2. 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. Climatic Change 91, 65-79 (2008). Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. This iceberg was finally calved in July 2013. Pine Island Glacier has undergone several major iceberg calving events over the past decades. However, when retreating further, they could destabilize the entire West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which contains enough ice to … 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 DC-8 took off on Oct. 26, 2011, to collect more data on the ice shelf and the crack. Learn more on EarthSky. Hughes, T. A simple holistic hypothesis for the self-destruction of ice sheets. Bamber, J. L., and Aspinall, W. P. (2013). West Antarctic Ice Sheet and CO2 Greenhouse effect – threat of disaster. Your email address will not be published. © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society, © 2015- From 12300 to 10600 years ago, there was a large ice shelf throughout the Amundsen Sea Embayment. However, this iceberg calving event is a natural process, part of how the ice shelf regularly calves – this ice shelf spawns huge icebergs every 6-10 years. Nature 484, 502-505 (2012). The point at which glaciers and ice shelves start to float is the … The ice shelf around Pine Island Glacier is currently thinning, and it is warmed from below by Circumpolar Deep Water that flows onto the continental shelf22,23. By Youtube user pikff1. Jakobsson, M., Anderson, J.B., Nitsche, F.O., Dowdeswell, J.A., Gyllencreutz, R., Kirchner, N., Mohammed, R., O’Regan, M., Alley, R.B., Andandakrishnan, S., Eriksson, B., Kirshner, A., Fernandez, R., Stolldorf, T., Minzoni, R. & Majewski, W. Geological record of ice shelf break-up and grounding line retreat, Pine Island Bay, West Antarctica. The team observed the crack on the DC-8’s Oct. 14 flight. Note article at Realclimate. Digital Story Innovation Team. Rignot, E., Jacobs, S., Mouginot, J. Glaciers that end in the ocean like this are called Tidewater Glaciers.They may be grounded (the glacier is in contact with the bed entirely), or parts of the glacier terminus may be floating. (2012) predict recession over the next 200 years with huge uncertainty over the rate of retreat, and full collapse of the trunk of Pine Island Glacier during the 22nd Century remains a possibility15. The study results reveal that since 2016, damage in the shear zone of Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers has rapidly developed. If you examine the MODIS imagery are you sure about the July 2013 calving date, no separation occurred until November 2013? As changes in ice velocities on PIGIS are strongly linked to changes in ice mass discharge from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, it is very important to evaluate the spatiotemporal variations in ice velocities on the ice shelf. Uncertainty over the future behaviour of Pine Island Glacier in West Antarctica is one of the largest constraints on accurately predicting future sea level rise16. This image, taken on February 11 by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission, shows the Pine Island Glacier's newly calved icebergs in detail. West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapse – the fall and rise of a paradigm. As Pine Island’s ice shelf weakens, so does this buttressing force, which can hasten the flow of ice from the land. Despite this interest, Pine Island Glacier is difficult to access. This ice stream is unlikely to collapse in our lifetime – but the same cannot be said for future generations. “Although iceberg ‘calving’ from floating Antarctic ice shelves is a natural, ongoing process, the recent calving event of Pine Island Glacier was particularly large and such calving events from this glacier appear to be becoming more frequent,” says Alison Banwell, a glaciologist at CIRES, University of Colorado, Boulder. Pritchard, H.D., Ligtenberg, S.R.M., Fricker, H.A., Vaughan, D.G., van den Broeke, M.R. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 280, 51-60 (2009). Pine Island Glacier is currently flowing very quickly and it is accelerating, causing thinning. Pine Island Glacier is one of the largest ice streams in Antarctica. Pigis ) if the ice stream was also controlled by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission, shows Pine. The A1B “ Business as Usual ” emissions scenario from the IPCC ( 2.6°C warming by 2100 ) Gladstone! 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