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. “Once satellite measurementsof Antarctica started to accumulate and we began to see which places werechanging, this area lit up as a spot where there was a large change going on,”Bindschadler said. 27. NASA Earth Observatory map by Lauren Dauphin, using Reference Elevation Model of Antarctica (REMA) data from the Polar Geospatial Center at the University of Minnesota. http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/11/is-pine-island-glacier-the-weak-underbelly-of-the-west-antarctic-ice-sheet/. & Le Brocq, A.M. Reassessment of the potential sea-level rise from a collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. The following images, acquired with Terra MODIS and the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8, show Pine Island Glacier’s most notable calving events over the past two decades. The images below show how much of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, especially around Pine Island Glacier, is grounded well below sea level. “This underlies our concern that retreating outlet glaciers can ‘shrink’ rapidly,” Bindschadler said. Large cracks are forming farther upstream from the ice front than ever before—even in the middle of the ice shelf, where scientists had never previously seen them grow. 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. By signing up, you'll get thousands of step-by-step solutions to your homework questions. At the Last Glacial Maximum, circa 18,000 years ago, the ice stream was at the continental shelf edge27. As anticipated, Pine Island Glacier, known as PIG for short, in Antarctica has just spawned a huge iceberg. The glacier, known as Pine Island, is considered one of the fastest retreating glaciers in Antarctica, where the climate is changing rapidly. Science 324, 901-903 (2009). Increased rate of acceleration on Pine Island Glacier strongly coupled to changes in gravitational driving stress. View All Images in This Event: Pine Island Glacier in Retreat. For example, data collected during science flights in 2009 led researchers to discover a deep-water channel (map below) that could funnel warm water to the glacier’s underbelly and melt it from below. 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. The calving of icebergs during the austral winter is not surprising. Decades of investigations have given scientists a better idea of the quirks of PIG’s behavior. 10. Some studies have suggested that the entire main trunk of Pine Island Glacier could unground and become afloat within 100 years14, but more recent modelling efforts suggest that much longer timescales are needed to unground the entire trunk2. By Youtube user pikff1. Change 3, 424-427. 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. B-35 had drifted farther from the ice front. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences 364, 1637-1655 (2006). 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. (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. & Scheuchl, B. Pine Island Glacier is currently flowing very quickly and it is accelerating, causing thinning. Pine Island Glacier (PIG) is a large ice stream flowing west-northwest along the south side of the Hudson Mountains into Pine Island Bay, Amundsen Sea, Antarctica. The acceleration stretches the glacier, causing the thinning and likely making the ice more prone to crevassing (cracking) “upstream.”. Meltwater production underneath the ice shelf increased by 50% from 1994 to 2011; this increased melting results from stronger sub-ice-shelf circulation. National/Naval Ice Center. 12-17-12 Progress on the Pine Island Glacier Field Experiment. And well, actually, that’s it in the fun department. Caption: Visualisation of ice flow in the Antarctic ice sheet model PISM-PIK. The Pine Island Glacier's more than 400-metre thick ice shelf must have been grounded on the ridge for several decades, as the satellite images of the glacier gathered by the researchers -- … 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. The white dots show how particles move with the ice which are initially randomly distributed over the ice surface. Scientists think the change in calving frequency is likely related to the thinning of the ice shelf. Image development and design by Lauren Dauphin. Although it is rather remote, PIG and its twin glacier, Thwaites, are … Pine Island Glacier. In the figure below, from Rignot et al. Free online lecture: The Glaciers are melting: What happens next? Joughin, I., Smith, B.E. Geology 39, 691-694 (2011). 20. Pine Island Glacier (PIG) is a large ice stream located on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) in Antarctica. The visualization approaches the Pine Island Glacier, dives beneath the water and views the ocean flows circulating beneath the floating ice. Glasser, N.F., Scambos, T.A., Bohlander, J.A., Truffer, M., Pettit, E.C. Geophysical Research Letters 31, L18402 (2004). This gives a total of 33 to 132 cm of global total sea level rise by 2100. The recently calved iceberg may be 720 km2, but that’s the least of this ice stream’s worries. If you examine the MODIS imagery are you sure about the July 2013 calving date, no separation occurred until November 2013? The velocity is well above that required to maintain mass balance – so the ice stretches longitudinally, and thins vertically3. 8. Over the past 8 years, the Pine Island glacier is losing about 58 billion tons of ice per year. Researchers operating special ship-mounted sonar gear found a series of 25-mile-wide channels in the seafloor that bring warm water to the base of the Thwaites and Pine Island Glaciers. 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. Pine Island Glacier has contributed more to sea-level rise over the past decades than any other glacier in Antarctica. Pine Island Glacier flows at rates of up to 4000 m per year2. You are correct, the Then/Now Glacier style features National Geographic photographs of the Pine Island Glacier in Antarctica. 2. De Angelis, H. & Skvarca, P. Glacier surge after ice shelf collapse. Only a handful of scientists have ever set foot on its ice. 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. It is important that we take a longer-term perspective of the current changes observed on Pine Island Glacier. The catchments of Pine Island Glacier and Thwaites Glacier in the Amundsen Sea Embayment are two of the largest, most rapidly changing, and potentially unstable sectors of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Journal of Glaciology 48, 247-256 (2002). 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). Nature Geoscience 4, 519-523 (2011). Pritchard, H.D., Ligtenberg, S.R.M., Fricker, H.A., Vaughan, D.G., van den Broeke, M.R. Scambos, T.A., Bohlander, J.A., Shuman, C.A. 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. However, data from Autosubs that did return indicates that more warm Circumpolar Deep Water has been in Pine Island Bay in recent summers22. But once again, the calving might have happened some days before under cloud cover. Around this time, Pine Island Glacier started to shed smaller icebergs more frequently. It reached its current position around 10,000 years ago27. Ice-shelf changes in Pine Island Bay, Antarctica, 1947–2000. As anticipated, Pine Island Glacier, known as PIG for short, in Antarctica has just spawned a huge iceberg. Even though the text under the picture says ‘Simplified cartoon of a tributary glacier feeding into an ice shelf’, it is misleading. The grounding line of the ice stream retreated rapidly following ice-shelf collapse26. Story by Kathryn Hansen. NASA Earth Observatory animation by Lauren Dauphin, using MODIS data from NASA EOSDIS/LANCE and GIBS/Worldview. Researchers reported anomalous rifts forming between 2013 and 2015 on Pine Island Glacier. 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. Pine Island Glacier ice shelf now has one of the fastest rates of ice-shelf thinning in Antarctica24,25. Download . This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. April 9, 2019. The lists include outlet glaciers, valley glaciers, cirque glaciers, tidewater glaciers and ice streams. Darkness engulfs the poles during winter, and in months when there is ample sunlight, clouds can obscure the view. & Holland, D.M. Sea ice keeps ships away, making it difficult to access the ice stream from the ocean. If you zoom in far enough, you’ll be able to see the huge crack in the ice shelf. This threshold has yet to be passed. Inland thinning of Pine Island Glacier, West Antarctica. NASA Earth Observatory image by Lauren Dauphin, using MODIS data from NASA EOSDIS/LANCE and GIBS/Worldview. The image above shows a clear view from October 15, 2007. 13. 24. Rott, H., Rack, W., Skvarca, P. & De Angelis, H. Northern Larsen Ice Shelf, Antarctica: further retreat after collapse. 6. Science 291, 862-864 (2001). While this outlet glacier is just one of many around the perimeter of Antarctica, data collected from the ground, air, and space confirm that Pine Island is worth extra attention. Post-LGM deglaciation in Pine Island Bay, West Antarctica. Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier is one of the most closely watched pieces of ice on Earth. The event produced a number of sizeable icebergs including B-41, which was still close to the shelf when this image was acquired on November 26, 2015. Journal of Geophysical Research-Earth Surface 112(2007). Can you identify the ice shelf? The recession of the ice stream was also controlled by the presence or absence of ice shelves. In the case of bergs from Pine Island Glacier and others that start in the Amundsen and Eastern Ross seas, the names begin with “B”. Pine Island Glacier’s ice shelf in particular is currently accelerating, thinning and receding 13, 15. Extending for 19 miles (30 kilometers), the crack was 260 feet (80 meters) wide and 195 feet (60 meters) deep. Your email address will not be published. Pine Island Glacier ice shelf periodically calves huge icebergs. At around 2km thick, PIG accounts for around 10% of the WAIS and drains an area of 162,300km 2 , roughly two thirds the size of the United Kingdom. 5. Bamber, J. L., and Aspinall, W. P. (2013). 18. The Pine Island Glacier (a.k.a. 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 … 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. The drill camp at the Pine Island Ice Shelf. The first reference to this being the weak underbelly is Hughes (1981). Science (2011). The Pine Island Glacier is one of those that shrink at an impressive speed, and an iceberg broke off recently, proving that the trend continues to become more intense. Huge amounts of meltwater are generated in a large cavity beneath the ice shelf. The Pine Island Glacier ice shelf now has one of the fastest rates of ice-shelf thinning in Antarctica. 2. hence that the ice is breaking of because of water pressure from below. It is, along with neighboring Thwaites Glacier, one of the main pathways for ice entering the Amundsen Sea from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and one the fastest-retreating glaciers in 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. The red line shows where the 2017 Pine Island Glacier iceberg broke off. In August 2015, the U.S. National Ice Center reported that a calving event had occurred in the darkness of winter, likely in late July. Quaternary Science Reviews 30, 1829-1845 (2011). You have probably noticed that each iceberg has the letter “B,” in its name. NASA Earth Observatory image by Holli Riebeek, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey. You can use Google Earth below to explore the ice stream. Colours in addition show the flow speed. Wingham, D.J., Wallis, D.W. & Shepherd, A. Spatial and temporal evolution of Pine Island Glacier thinning, 1995-2006. 12. 9. Check out some photographs from that flight here. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 280, 51-60 (2009). Go to top or jump to Marine Ice Sheet Instability. What is concerning is the current intense melting, thinning and glacier acceleration observed on Pine Island Glacier ice shelf22. The behemoth measured 42 kilometers long and 17 kilometers wide, an area of 714 square kilometers. Pine Island Glacier is a cause for concern, because it’s thinning rapidly, steepening, accelerating and receding. Located near the base of the Antarctic Peninsula—the “thumb” of the continent—the glacier lies more than 2,600 kilometers (1,600 miles) from the tip of South America. 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. Until this point, large icebergs were calving from Pine Island Glacier every four to six years. That is significant because the Thwaites, along with the Pine Island Glacier and a number of smaller glaciers, acts as a brake on part of the much larger West Antarctic Ice Sheet. 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. An iceberg has broken off Pine Island Glacier (PIG) on the edge of Antarctica, according to satellite images taken Tuesday by the European Space Agency (ESA). For the Pine Island Glacier, the new study finds that while the cracking and fraying at the shear margin dates to 1999, it accelerated in 2016. Extending for 19 miles (30 kilometers), the crack was 260 feet (80 meters) wide and 195 feet (60 meters) deep. 19. Hughes, T. A simple holistic hypothesis for the self-destruction of ice sheets. 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. The largest piece, named Iceberg B-46, spanned 226 square kilometers. Image development and design by Lauren Dauphin. Images were acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite from 2000 to 2019. It suggests: It’s a dangerous business; several iterations of Autosub have been lost under the ice. PIG) The area of the iceberg poised to calve off the Pine Island Glacier is about 115 square miles, or 300 square kilometers. … "The Pine Island glacier recently spawned an iceberg over (115 square miles) that very quickly shattered into pieces," the European Space Agency (ESA) said in a statement.. Annals of Glaciology 34, 277-282 (2002). It is a normal part of life for the floating ice from huge glaciers to fracture near the seaward edge and calve off as icebergs. Fractures near the seaward edge cause the ice to calve off as icebergs, a normal part of life for glaciers that extend over water. West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapse – the fall and rise of a paradigm. Pine Island Glacier drains much of the marine-based West Antarctic Ice Sheet, and it has a configuration susceptible to rapid disintegration and recession. That was about to change. Pine Island Glacier is one of the most dynamic features of the Antarctic Ice Sheet. Mike Shortt working with scientists at the British Antarctic Survey is making a series of radar-based ice thickness measurements that resolve melting rates of the ice of periods of days to months. Using MODIS data from the ocean floor that strongly influence its grounding or stability after ice shelf thins, OLI.: //glacierchange.wordpress.com/2013/11/13/pine-island-glacier-2013-iceberg-rift-update/ the first reference to this fragile, important ice stream was also by... 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