Pine Island Glacier is one of the most dynamic features of the Antarctic Ice Sheet. Pine Island Glacier is currently flowing very quickly and it is accelerating, causing thinning. Quaternary Science Reviews 38, 11-26 (2012). The Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers, located in the Amundsen Sea in West Antarctica, are among the fastest changing glaciers in the region; they're responsible for the largest contribution … It tweeted for awhile. 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. Scott, J.B.T., Gudmundsson, G.H., Smith, A.M., Bingham, R.G., Pritchard, H.D. 7. The Pine Island Glacier is one of the fastest-retreating glaciers in Antarctica, and along with the Thwaites Glacier nearby, it’s a subject of close scientific monitoring to determine whether … Since 2012, the glacier has been shedding 58 billion tons of ice a year, making the biggest single contribution to global sea level rise of any ice stream on the planet. Journal of Glaciology 27: 518-525. 25. 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. Ice Flow of the Antarctic Ice Sheet. The white dots show how particles move with the ice which are initially randomly distributed over the ice surface. Pine Island Glacier is one of the largest ice streams in Antarctica, and drains much of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. August 7, 2020. 18. Geology 39, 691-694 (2011). An international team of scientists and glaciologists are reaping the data-rich rewards of an exhaustive expedition to the Western Antarctic Ice Shelf’s (WAIS) Pine Island Glacier, where landmark … 4. & Davies, B.J. The survival … It can dive to 1600 m and travel 400 km, and it has a clever collision avoidance system. In the hopes of finding answers, scientists with the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration recently used a hot water drill to bore a hole through hundreds of feet of ice in order to access Thwaites’ grounding zone. Nature Geosci 1, 106-110 (2008). And that gateway is shattering before our eyes. Free online lecture: The Glaciers are melting: What happens next? 21. The recently calved iceberg may be 720 km2, but that’s the least of this ice stream’s worries. Pine Island Glacier flows at rates of up to 4000 m per year2. Climate Change. This threshold has yet to be passed. From ice-shelf tributary to tidewater glacier: continued rapid glacier recession, acceleration and thinning of Röhss Glacier following the 1995 collapse of the Prince Gustav Ice Shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula. Measurements from the British Antarctic Survey’s Autosub, the intrepid sub-ice shelf explorer, help scientists understand sub-ice conditions. The Pine Island Glacier ice shelf now has one of the fastest rates of ice-shelf thinning in Antarctica. Mercer, J.H. 27. As Pine Island’s ice shelf weakens, so does this buttressing force, which can hasten the flow of ice from the land. If the glaciers were to pop loose at their grounding line, water could seep between ice and rock. Pine Island Glacier … The recession of the ice stream was also controlled by the presence or absence of ice shelves. 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. It’s also in line with the bigger picture of climate change. This ice shelf collapsed after 10600 years ago28, when warmer waters flowed onto the continental shelf. 8. 15. 2020 National Geographic Partners, LLC. 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. 22. 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. From 12300 to 10600 years ago, there was a large ice shelf throughout the Amundsen Sea Embayment. 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. Photograph courtesy Copernicus Sentinel, European Space Agency, A huge iceberg just broke off West Antarctica’s most endangered glacier, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2020/02/antarctica-pine-island-glacier.html, Find out why it's our fault that West Antarctica is melting. 9. You can also see how the surface of both the ice stream and ice shelf is heavily crevassed, making it difficult to walk on the surface of the ice. Science 291, 862-864 (2001). What is the ice volume of Thwaites Glacier? Your email address will not be published. It’s acronym is PIG. (Find out why it's our fault that West Antarctica is melting.). 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. 2. hence that the ice is breaking of because of water pressure from below. 13. 28. Pine Island Glacier drains much of the marine-based West Antarctic Ice Sheet, and it has a configuration susceptible to rapid disintegration and recession. 12. 24. Geophysical Research Letters 37, L20502 (2010). 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. 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. Joughin, I., Smith, B.E. 14. Are these on-going changes unprecedented, or are they part of the normal behaviour for the glacier? A huge iceberg just broke off Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier Geophysical Research Letters 36, L17501 (2009). Kirshner, A.E., Anderson, J.B., Jakobsson, M., O’Regan, M., Majewski, W. & Nitsche, F.O. 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