Thanks to ESA’s CryoSat mission, scientists have now been able to shed new light on these complex patterns of ice loss. Antarctic glacier 'thinning fast' … Their work sheds light on the accelerating feedback process, wherein the rapid loss of ice is opening the door to ever-increasing melting. Pine Island Glacier and Thwaites Glacier in the Amundsen Sea Embayment are among the fastest changing outlet glaciers in Antarctica. Pine Island and Thwaites are among the continent's most dynamic glaciers — and their melting is responsible for some 5 per cent of global sea level rise to date. The area drained by Pine Island Glacier comprises about 10% of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Here we use a time series of elevation and speed data to examine the simulated transient response of Pine Island Glacier, Antarctica, to a loss of basal traction as its grounding line retreats. Ice loss from Pine Island Glacier has contributed more to sea-level rise over the past four decades than any other glacier in Antarctica. However, the way this huge glacier is thinning is complex, leading to uncertainty about how it is likely to raise sea level in the future. Ice loss from Pine Island Glacier has contributed more to sea-level rise over the past four decades than any other glacier in Antarctica. Snowfall on the inland portions of Antarctica feeds the Thwaites and Pine Island glaciers, which flow downhill and out into the Amundsen Sea. New research involving geologists at Durham University suggests that the largest single contributor to global sea level rise, a glacier of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, may continue thinning for decades to come. This process might have already been triggered in the Amundsen Sea region, where Pine Island and 15 Thwaites glaciers domi nate the current mass loss from Antarctica, but modelling and observational techniques have not been able to establish this rigorously, leading to divergent views on the future mass loss of the WAIS. Researchers survey Pine Island Glacier. Of all the glaciers in the study, Pine Island Glacier accelerated the most since 1973, increasing by 1.7 kilometers (one mile), per year. The glaciers extend beyond the coastline, and the base of the ice rests on the seafloor. Credit: NASA/NSIDC . ScienceDaily. “The growing indentation into the shear margin was likely a factor in the formation of all the rifts that then caused PIG’s ice to fall apart in the last calving. The scientists have found that while the tearing of Pine Island Glacier’s shear margins has been documented since 1999, their satellite imagery shows that damage sped up dramatically in 2016. The survey of the glacier, the most detailed to date, was carried out during the Antarctic summer of 2013 - … Previous rapid thinning of Pine Island Glacier sheds light on future Antarctic ice loss. The sorry state of the ice indicates Pine Island Glacier’s health continues to suffer. Previous rapid thinning of Pine Island Glacier sheds light on future Antarctic ice loss (21 February 2014) Sampling boulders on Pine Island Glacier Credit Forian Wobbe. Thwaites Glacier Mass Balance. And the changes may not be over for the year. “When Pine Island Glacier lost contact with the thicker ice of the southwest tributary it was like the loss of protection on the glacier’s flank,” said NASA/UMBC glaciologist Christopher Shuman. Pine Island Glacier: A Quest to Understand Antarctic Ice Loss. Previous rapid thinning of Pine Island Glacier sheds light on future Antarctic ice loss Feb 20, 2014 New study models impact of calving on retreat of Thwaites Glacier Ice melting into the ocean in the region is expected to increase as the climate warms and the West Antarctic ice sheet continues to thin. Image caption Pine Island Glacier is one of the largest in Antarctica ... Laser satellite records ice loss . Ice streams of Antarctica with Pine Island Glacier and Thwaites glacier highlighted. The visualization shows how ocean currents flow around and under Pine Island Glacier in Antarctica. Flexural-gravity and extensional Lamb waves were also observed by a 5-station broadband seismic array deployed on the Pine Island Glacier (PIG) ice shelf from January 2012 to December 2013, with flexural wave energy, also detected at the PIG in the 20–100 mHz band. Here we use satellite imagery to show the development of damage areas with crevasses and open fractures on Pine Island and Thwaites ice shelves. The loss of large ice chunks, known as calving, is a routine process that happens to every glacier. As the water makes its way underneath the ice shelf, it erodes the ice shelf from the bottom causing it to become thinner. Melting from below . The iceberg came from the Pine Island Glacier which, along with its neighbour the Thwaites Glacier, could result in sea levels rising by four feet if rapid ice loss continues. However, the way this huge glacier is thinning is complex, leading to uncertainty about how it is likely to raise sea level in the future. West Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier (PIG) is the fastest-melting glacier in Antarctica, making it the single biggest contributor to global sea-level rise. Pine Island Glacier and Thwaites Glacier together account for 3% of grounded ice-sheet area, but they receive 7% of Antarctica’s snowfall 1. Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers are endangered, and the current damage is almost impossible to heal. 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 visualization shows how ocean currents flow around and under Pine Island Glacier in Antarctica. and substantial ice loss. Pine Island glacier loss must force another look at sea-level forecasts as giant iceberg is spawned A crack has opened across the full width of the PIG ice shelf, spawning a new berg : Update 10 July 2013: Pine Island spawns giant new iceberg as fissure extends full width of glacier. Yet, projecting the future of these glaciers remains a major uncertainty for sea level rise. Ice loss culprits include the loss off buttressing ice shelves, wind, and a sub-shelf channel that allows warm water to intrude below the ice. We evaluate a variety of friction laws, which produces a diversity of responses, to determine which best reproduces the observed speedup when forced with the observed thinning. Satellite measurements have shown that the Pine Island Glacier basin has a greater net contribution of ice to the global ocean than any other ice drainage … 24 September 2009. Pine Island Glacier and Thwaites Glacier in the Amundsen Sea Embayment are among the fastest changing outlet glaciers in West Antarctica with large consequences for global sea level. British Antarctic Survey. It can acquire high-resolution data, especially in the steeply sloping coastal areas, where the radar altimeters flown on many other Earth observation satellites struggle to see important details. Pine Island Glacier, the longest and fastest flowing ice stream in the Antarctic, is now very probably in a headlong, self-sustaining retreat, say scientists. Pine Island Glacier is a large ice stream, and the fastest thinning glacier in Antarctica, responsible for about 25% of Antarctica's ice loss. Ice loss from Pine Island Glacier has contributed more to sea-level rise over the past four decades than any other glacier in Antarctica. (2014, February 20). 5 Kathryn Hansen NASA's Earth Science News Team. The visualization was produced using the "Estimating the Circulation and Climate of the Ocean" (ECCO) V3 ocean circulation model, the 100 meter "Reference Elevation Model … West Antarctica is ground zero for these changes. TEMPORAL REDUCTION AND LOSS OF AN ICE SHELF IN PINE ISLAND BAY, ANTARCTICA: 1972 - 2003 Malcolm LeCompte1, ... water entering the sub-ice-shelf cavity beneath Pine Island Glacier’s ice shelf as well as a shallower pycnocline effectively warming waters at shallower depths (Jacobs et al., 2011), providing a potential mechanism for ice shelf loss. NASA recently posted a press release about an upcoming expedition to Pine Island Glacier Ice Shelf, a key piece of real estate in Antarctica that’s slipping into the ocean at an increasingly worrisome pace. West Antarctica is seeing dramatic ice loss particularly the Antarctic Peninsula and Pine Island regions. The inversion domain is chosen to be the approximate maximum extent of floating ice (2009–2014). The Pine Island Glacier is thinning by up to several metres per year The US space agency satellite uses a laser altimeter to measure the elevation of the ice sheets. Pine Island Glacier is part of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. The rate of ice loss across Antarctica has sped up three times faster in the past five years compared to the preceding 20. (b) Pine Island Glacier ice shelf draft calculated from a surface digital elevation model derived from Worldview satellite stereoscopic optical imagery [Moratto et al., 2010; Shean et al., 2016] assuming hydrostatic equilibrium. As the water makes its way underneath the ice shelf, it erodes the ice shelf from the bottom causing it to become thinner. The loss of the glaciers could trigger the broader collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet, which contains enough ice to eventually raise seas by about 10 feet, the Washington Post noted. In the past, Pine Island would calve every four to six years, glaciologist Alison Banwell says. “These are the two key glaciers in West Antarctica that will define global sea level over the coming decades,” Wouters told GlacierHub. Streams of Antarctica feeds the Thwaites and Pine Island would calve every to! 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