Channelized ice melting in the ocean boundary layer beneath Pine Island Glacier, Antarctica

T. P. Stanton, W. J. Shaw, M. Truffer, H. F.J. Corr, L. E. Peters, K. L. Riverman, R. Bindschadler, D. M. Holland, S. Anandakrishnan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations

Abstract

Ice shelves play a key role in the mass balance of the Antarctic ice sheets by buttressing their seaward-flowing outlet glaciers; however, they are exposed to the underlying ocean and may weaken if ocean thermal forcing increases. An expedition to the ice shelf of the remote Pine Island Glacier, a major outlet of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet that has rapidly thinned and accelerated in recent decades, has been completed. Observations from geophysical surveys and long-term oceanographic instruments deployed down bore holes into the ocean cavity reveal a buoyancy-driven boundary layer within a basal channel that melts the channel apex by 0.06 meter per day, with near-zero melt rates along the flanks of the channel. A complex pattern of such channels is visible throughout the Pine Island Glacier shelf.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1236-1239
Number of pages4
JournalScience
Volume341
Issue number6151
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

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