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Science 291, 862-864 (2001). 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 … Free online lecture: The Glaciers are melting: What happens next? suggests that there will be more disintegration soon. It suggests: 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. Quaternary Science Reviews 21, 1879-1897 (2002). The ice stream is steepening, which increases the gravitational driving stress, helping it to flow faster, and there is no indication that the glacier is approaching a steady state10. , Sensitivity of the ice shelf ocean system to the sub-ice shelf cavity shape measured by NASA IceBridge in Pine Island Glacier, West Antarctica. 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. 26. Cryosphere 3, 125-131 (2009). doi: 10.3189/2012AoG60A073 Rignot, E. Changes in ice dynamics and mass balance of the Antarctic ice sheet. Scientists think the change in calving frequency is likely related to the thinning of the ice shelf. Pine Island Glacier could collapse – stagnate and retreat far up into the bay, resulting in rapid sea level rise – within the next few centuries, raising global sea levels by 1.5 m11,12, out of a total of 3.3 m from the entire West Antarctic Ice Sheet13. The ice stream is heavily-crevassed and dangerous, so walking on it is difficult. Ice Shelf Melting Around Antarctica. “The event will undoubtedly evolve,” he says. Glaciol. Change 3, 424-427. This type of calving is common on polar ice shelves, with no clear connection to ocean‐ice dynamic forcing. NASA image acquired October 24, 2011 NASA's DC-8 flew over the Pine Island Glacier Ice Shelf on Oct. 14, 2011 as part of the agency's Operation IceBridge. The ice then moves under its own weight toward the edges of the continent. 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. Ocean-excited plate waves in the Ross and Pine Island Glacier ice shelves - Volume 64 Issue 247 - ZHAO CHEN, PETER D. BROMIRSKI, PETER GERSTOFT, RALPH A. STEPHEN, DOUGLAS A. WIENS, RICHARD C. ASTER, ANDREW A. Antarctica’s contribution to global sea level rise, Pine Island Glacier: the longer term view, difficult to assess how soon a collapse of Pine Island Glacier could occur, http://glacierchange.wordpress.com/2013/11/13/pine-island-glacier-2013-iceberg-rift-update/, http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/11/is-pine-island-glacier-the-weak-underbelly-of-the-west-antarctic-ice-sheet/, Calculating glacier ice volumes and sea level equivalents, Antarctic supraglacial lakes and ice-shelf collapse, Dealing with uncertainty: predicting future sea level rise, Degree day models: Modelling glacier melt, A introduction to the hierarchy of ice-sheet models, The role of debris cover on glacier ablation, Introduction to glaciated valley landsystems, Cirque glaciation landsystem of upland Britain, Subpolar landsystems of James Ross Island, Alpine icefield landsystem of upland Britain, Plateau icefield landsystem of upland Britain, Quantifying ice sheet thinning using cosmogenic nuclide ages, Precision and accuracy in glacial geology, Ice stream initiation on the northern Antarctic Peninsula, Geophysical Surveys: The Gamburtsev Mountains, Glacial geomorphology of the Patagonian Ice Sheet, The westerly winds and the Patagonian Ice Sheet, Glaciolacustrine Landforms in Patagonia, Chile, Introduction to the Glaciation of Britain, The LGM British-Irish Ice Sheet: an introduction, Shelf-edge margins of the British-Irish Ice Sheet, Unlocking ice-flow pathways using glacial erratics, Introduction to the Glacial Landsystems of the Younger Dryas glaciation of Britain, Teaching resources on the last British-Irish Ice Sheet, Post-16 education and A-Level content on AntarcticGlaciers, A-Level Geography Fieldwork Investigation. Meanwhile, Pine Island Glacier seems to have stabilized for now. Scambos, T.A., Bohlander, J.A., Shuman, C.A. With temperatures on the Antarctic Peninsula spiking to a record 65 degrees Fahrenheit last week, the signs of rapid transformation are becoming difficult to ignore. The grounding line receded by more than 20 km from 1996 to 20092. Because the bedrock slopes downward as one travels inland, this could result in an increasingly thick, unstable ice shelf that produces bigger and bigger icebergs, ultimately leading to runaway collapse. The team observed the crack on the DC-8’s Oct. 14 flight. And that gateway is shattering before our eyes. It is a normal part of life for the floating ice from huge glaciers to fracture near the seaward edge and … Podcast on Antarctica, geopolitics and climate change, Podcast with the GA on Glaciers and Glaciation, Funding from the Antarctic Science International Bursary, Talk on teaching resources: recording available, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. It can dive to 1600 m and travel 400 km, and it has a clever collision avoidance system. Quaternary Science Reviews 38, 11-26 (2012). Shrinking Antarctic ice shelf Pine Island Glacier sheds giant iceberg. 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. Do we want that? A crack runs across the floating ice shelf of Pine Island Glacier in Antarctica, seen from NASA’s DC-8 on Oct. 14, 2011. Credit: Michael Studinger/NASA. Geophysical Research Letters 37, L20502 (2010). 27. 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. & Padman, L. Antarctic ice-sheet loss driven by basal melting of ice shelves. Thinning can destabilize the shelf because the ice loses contact with points on the ocean floor that strongly influence its grounding or … & Skvarca, P. Glacier acceleration and thinning after ice shelf collapse in the Larsen B embayment, Antarctica. Pine Island Glacier has a large ice shelf, which supports the glacier. 13. 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. 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. 2. hence that the ice is breaking of because of water pressure from below. “The events of the past five to 10 years seem to be exceptional for the area compared to the retreat in the past 70 years,” Bert Wouters, a satellite remote sensing expert at TU Delft in the Netherlands who has been monitoring Pine Island Glacier closely, writes in an email. 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. It is important that we take a longer-term perspective of the current changes observed on Pine Island Glacier. At the Last Glacial Maximum, circa 18,000 years ago, the ice stream was at the continental shelf edge27. Releasing a huge iceberg, by itself, is a normal process, unrelated to warming, but increased calving may occur in the future if the ice shelf continues to thin, which would make it susceptible to plate bending and hydrofracture processes21. This gives a total of 33 to 132 cm of global total sea level rise by 2100. Over the weekend, the European Space Agency’s Sentinel satellites spotted a significant breakup, or calving event, underway on Pine Island Glacier’s floating ice shelf. If the ice isn’t in fact that surprisingly low density, I would suggest you correct that. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Geology 39, 691-694 (2011). The ice stream continued to recede from 16,400 to 12,300 years ago, controlled by global sea level rise. 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. 28. 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. Schoof, C. Ice sheet grounding line dynamics: Steady states, stability, and hysteresis. Journal of Geophysical Research-Earth Surface 112(2007). Bamber, J. L., and Aspinall, W. P. (2013). Nature Clim. Calibrated prediction of Pine Island Glacier retreat during the 21st and 22nd centuries with a coupled flowline model. Rignot, E., Jacobs, S., Mouginot, J. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences 364, 1637-1655 (2006). 2. 24. 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. “What is unsettling is that the daily data stream [from satellites] reveals the dramatic pace at which climate is redefining the face of Antarctica,” said Mark Drinkwater, senior scientist and cryosphere specialist at the European Space Agency, in a press release. 5. 15. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 333–334, 191-199 (2012). Note article at Realclimate. But as with other recent calvings at Pine Island and other West Antarctic glaciers, the primary driver was the influx of warm subsurface water into the Amundsen Sea Embayment, which is causing ice to melt from below. 20. 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 study results reveal that since 2016, damage in the shear zone of Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers has rapidly developed. Pine Island Glacier last calved a significant iceberg in 2001, and some scientists have speculated recently that it was primed to calve again. Vaughan, D.G. If you examine the MODIS imagery are you sure about the July 2013 calving date, no separation occurred until November 2013? 9. Pine Island Glacier flows at rates of up to 4000 m per year2. Pine Island Glacier ice shelf now has one of the fastest rates of ice-shelf thinning in Antarctica24,25. The largest contibution to global sea level rise from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets combined is around 16.9 mm per year, but is more likely to be around 5.4 mm per year by 2100. The image was taken during the NASA/Centro de Estudios Cientificos, Chile (CECS) Antarctic campaign of Fall 2002. Pine Island Glacier is one of the most dynamic features of the Antarctic Ice Sheet. & Cornford, S.L. Climatic Change 91, 65-79 (2008). The point at which glaciers and ice shelves start to float is the … The intervals between the events seem to be getting shorter, another symptom of the glacier’s unhealthy state. Bamber, J.L., Riva, R.E.M., Vermeersen, B.L.A. According to the European Space Agency (ESA), Pine Island Glacier’s ice velocity has accelerated to exceed 33 feet per day. Huge amounts of meltwater are generated in a large cavity beneath the ice shelf. The grounding line of the ice stream retreated rapidly following ice-shelf collapse26. 22. The images below show how much of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, especially around Pine Island Glacier, is grounded well below sea level. The ice shelf base of across-profiles III and IV does not change much in depth but the basal channel itself widens. … The scenario is glaciological nightmare-fuel, but the jury is still out on how likely it is. Under the A1B “Business as Usual” emissions scenario from the IPCC (2.6°C warming by 2100), Gladstone et al. Rignot, E. Ice-shelf changes in Pine Island Bay, Antarctica, 1947-2000. 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. Rignot, E., Mouginot, J. Pine Island Glacier (PIG) Research Team: Robert Bindschadler (NASA Emeritus) Ice Flow of the Antarctic Ice Sheet. 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. “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. Wingham, D.J., Wallis, D.W. & Shepherd, A. Spatial and temporal evolution of Pine Island Glacier thinning, 1995-2006. 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. This threshold has yet to be passed. Measurements from the British Antarctic Survey’s Autosub, the intrepid sub-ice shelf explorer, help scientists understand sub-ice conditions. 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. 3. However, data from Autosubs that did return indicates that more warm Circumpolar Deep Water has been in Pine Island Bay in recent summers22. Post-LGM deglaciation in Pine Island Bay, West Antarctica. Gladstone, R.M., Lee, V., Rougier, J., Payne, A.J., Hellmer, H., Le Brocq, A., Shepherd, A., Edwards, T.L., Gregory, J. By Youtube user pikff1. Pine Island Glacier is one of the largest ice streams in Antarctica. Over the past 40 years Pine Island and Thwaites Glacier have contributed ~5 mm to global sea level rise. 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. On Friday I had the opportunity to be co-pilot for the British Antarctic Survey Twin Otter airplane flight taking 2000 lbs of freight down to Pine Island Glacier … The area drained by Pine Island Glacier comprises about 10% of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. It’s a dangerous business; several iterations of Autosub have been lost under the ice. Scambos, T., Fricker, H.A., Liu, C.-C., Bohlander, J., Fastook, J., Sargent, A., Massom, R. & Wu, A.-M. Ice shelf disintegration by plate bending and hydro-fracture: Satellite observations and model results of the 2008 Wilkins ice shelf break-ups. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 280, 51-60 (2009). “The weak underbelly of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet”. Joughin, I., Smith, B.E. 21. “All in all, not good news for the inland ice flowing out from Pine Island Glacier,” Shuman says. It reached its current position around 10,000 years ago27. The recession of the ice stream was also controlled by the presence or absence of ice shelves. Can you identify the ice shelf? 8. Science 324, 901-903 (2009). What is concerning is the current intense melting, thinning and glacier acceleration observed on Pine Island Glacier ice shelf22. It is buttressed by a large ice shelf that is currently thinning8, and the ice stream itself has a negative mass balance (the melting is not replaced by snowfall)3, it is flowing faster9,  and the grounding line is retreating further and further up into the bay. What is the ice volume of Thwaites Glacier? Pine Island is Antarctica’s most vulnerable. 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. The recently calved iceberg may be 720 km2, but that’s the least of this ice stream’s worries. 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. The eastern half, including many smaller shards of ice, is following suit. 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 … Glasser, N.F., Scambos, T.A., Bohlander, J.A., Truffer, M., Pettit, E.C. It quickly shattered into a constellation of smaller icebergs, the largest of which was big enough to earn itself a name: B-49. The Pine Island Glacier, called the weak underbelly of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, is rapidly losing ice to the sea. The DC-8 took off on Oct. 26, 2011, to collect more data on the ice shelf and the crack. Jacobs, S.S., Jenkins, A., Giulivi, C.F. 25. 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’s about eight times the size of New York, or half the size of Greater London, at 720 km2. 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). Most of this transport to the sea is by ice streams (faster moving channels of ice surrounded by slower mo… & Scheuchl, B. Nature 271, 321-325 (1978). 23. It seems that the glacier is capable of very rapid recession within millennial timescales27, and that the dynamics between ice shelf and ice stream are intrinsically linked. An active volcano has been unexpectedly discovered beneath a rapidly vanishing glacier in Antarctica by a team of scientists studying the melting ice shelf. It empties into a small ice shelf, bordering the Amundsen Sea, that is commonly considered part of this glacier system. Pritchard, H.D., Ligtenberg, S.R.M., Fricker, H.A., Vaughan, D.G., van den Broeke, M.R. Pine Island Glacier is one of the largest ice streams in Antarctica, and drains much of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Rift developed on the ocean to earn itself a name: B-49 S.R.M., Fricker, H.A.,,. S about eight times the size of New York, or half the size of Greater London, 720... Scientists understand sub-ice conditions Skvarca, P. 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