Home » Antarctica » West Antarctic Ice Sheet » Pine Island Glacier, Investigating Pine Island Glacier | Why is Pine Island Glacier important? 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. 22. Glaciers that flow into an ice shelf are tributary glaciers.. 2. hence that the ice is breaking of because of water pressure from below. However, when retreating further, they could destabilize the entire West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which contains enough ice to … Huge amounts of meltwater are generated in a large cavity beneath the ice shelf. Thinning can destabilize the shelf because the ice loses contact with points on the ocean floor that strongly influence its grounding or … If you zoom in far enough, you’ll be able to see the huge crack in the ice shelf. 15. Gladstone, R.M., Lee, V., Rougier, J., Payne, A.J., Hellmer, H., Le Brocq, A., Shepherd, A., Edwards, T.L., Gregory, J. 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. Climatic Change 91, 65-79 (2008). http://glacierchange.wordpress.com/2013/11/13/pine-island-glacier-2013-iceberg-rift-update/ Geophysical Research Letters 31, L18402 (2004). It periodically, every 10 or so years, calves large icebergs – but on their own, they are not worrisome. Glaciol. Hughes T. (1981). You can use Google Earth below to explore the ice stream. Pritchard, H.D., Ligtenberg, S.R.M., Fricker, H.A., Vaughan, D.G., van den Broeke, M.R. 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. & van Meijgaard, E. Recent Antarctic ice mass loss from radar interferometry and regional climate modelling. Abstract. Inland thinning of Pine Island Glacier, West Antarctica. They can measure changes in ice extent and thinning from satellites4,5, and they have fired javelins loaded with sensors onto the ice surface, into places with too many crevasses for people to travel. It’s about eight times the size of New York, or half the size of Greater London, at 720 km2. This melts the ice shelf from below 24 , and this melting is probably the cause of the observed ice stream thinning, acceleration and grounding line recession 25 … For the Pine Island Glacier, ... the western and central parts of the Pine Island ice shelf have shrunk by about 30 percent, from about 1,500 square miles down to closer to 1,000 square miles. 26. Dutrieux, P and 6 others (2013) Pine Island Glacier ice shelf melt distributed at kilometre scales. 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. As Pine Islandâs ice shelf weakens, so does this buttressing force, which can hasten the flow of ice from the land. 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. Learn more on EarthSky. Pine Island Glacier has undergone several major iceberg calving events over the past decades. Rignot, E. Changes in ice dynamics and mass balance of the Antarctic ice sheet. As the ice shelf thins, more water is able to circulate beneath it22, exacerbating the problem and encouraging further melting. 11. 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 … In October, 2011, NASA's Operation IceBridge discovered a major rift in the Pine Island Glacier in western Antarctica. The velocity is well above that required to maintain mass balance – so the ice stretches longitudinally, and thins vertically3. The recent breakup, which was bigger than those in 2017 and 2018 but smaller than iceberg calvings in the early 2000s, according to Wouters, might have been partly driven by mild weather last winter. 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. This ice shelf collapsed after 10600 years ago28, when warmer waters flowed onto the continental shelf. , Sensitivity of the ice shelf ocean system to the sub-ice shelf cavity shape measured by NASA IceBridge in Pine Island Glacier, West Antarctica. Just watch how fast the ice flows in the video below, and notice especially how the ice speeds up when it reaches the floating ice shelf. If the ice isn’t in fact that surprisingly low density, I would suggest you correct that. Pine Island Glacier is one of the most dynamic features of the Antarctic Ice Sheet. Post-LGM deglaciation in Pine Island Bay, West Antarctica. The Antarctic Peninsula is one of the fastest warming regions on the planet, with two major glaciers, the Thwaites Glacier and the Pine Island Glacier, retreating faster than new ice can form. 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 intervals between the events seem to be getting shorter, another symptom of the glacierâs unhealthy state. Pine Island Glacier has a large ice shelf, which supports the glacier. Research at the Pine Island Glacier Ice Shelf Scott Borg National Science Foundation Robert Bindschadler NASA Emeritus Timothy Stanton Naval Postgraduate School Sridhar Anandakrishnan The Pennsylvania State University. 24. 27. Despite this interest, Pine Island Glacier is difficult to access. 1. that the ice has roughly a third of the density of water (under/over water ratio of the floating blocks). âAlthough iceberg âcalvingâ 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,â says Alison Banwell, a glaciologist at CIRES, University of Colorado, Boulder. 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