Sensitivity of Pine Island Glacier to observed ocean forcing

Knut Christianson, Mitchell Bushuk, Pierre Dutrieux, Byron R. Parizek, Ian R. Joughin, Richard B. Alley, David E. Shean, E. Povl Abrahamsen, Sridhar Anandakrishnan, Karen J. Heywood, Tae Wan Kim, Sang Hoon Lee, Keith Nicholls, Tim Stanton, Martin Truffer, Benjamin G M Webber, Adrian Jenkins, Stan Jacobs, Robert Bindschadler, David M. Holland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We present subannual observations (2009–2014) of a major West Antarctic glacier (Pine Island Glacier) and the neighboring ocean. Ongoing glacier retreat and accelerated ice flow were likely triggered a few decades ago by increased ocean-induced thinning, which may have initiated marine ice sheet instability. Following a subsequent 60% drop in ocean heat content from early 2012 to late 2013, ice flow slowed, but by < 4%, with flow recovering as the ocean warmed to prior temperatures. During this cold-ocean period, the evolving glacier-bed/ice shelf system was also in a geometry favorable to stabilization. However, despite a minor, temporary decrease in ice discharge, the basin-wide thinning signal did not change. Thus, as predicted by theory, once marine ice sheet instability is underway, a single transient high-amplitude ocean cooling has only a relatively minor effect on ice flow. The long-term effects of ocean temperature variability on ice flow, however, are not yet known.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10,817-10,825
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume43
Issue number20
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 28 2016

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glaciers
oceans
glacier
ice
ice flow
sensitivity
ocean
thinning
ice sheet
glacier retreat
ocean temperature
land ice
long term effects
ice shelf
stabilization
beds
cooling
enthalpy
geometry
basin

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

Cite this

Christianson, K., Bushuk, M., Dutrieux, P., Parizek, B. R., Joughin, I. R., Alley, R. B., ... Holland, D. M. (2016). Sensitivity of Pine Island Glacier to observed ocean forcing. Geophysical Research Letters, 43(20), 10,817-10,825. https://doi.org/10.1002/2016GL070500
Christianson, Knut ; Bushuk, Mitchell ; Dutrieux, Pierre ; Parizek, Byron R. ; Joughin, Ian R. ; Alley, Richard B. ; Shean, David E. ; Abrahamsen, E. Povl ; Anandakrishnan, Sridhar ; Heywood, Karen J. ; Kim, Tae Wan ; Lee, Sang Hoon ; Nicholls, Keith ; Stanton, Tim ; Truffer, Martin ; Webber, Benjamin G M ; Jenkins, Adrian ; Jacobs, Stan ; Bindschadler, Robert ; Holland, David M. / Sensitivity of Pine Island Glacier to observed ocean forcing. In: Geophysical Research Letters. 2016 ; Vol. 43, No. 20. pp. 10,817-10,825.
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abstract = "We present subannual observations (2009–2014) of a major West Antarctic glacier (Pine Island Glacier) and the neighboring ocean. Ongoing glacier retreat and accelerated ice flow were likely triggered a few decades ago by increased ocean-induced thinning, which may have initiated marine ice sheet instability. Following a subsequent 60{\%} drop in ocean heat content from early 2012 to late 2013, ice flow slowed, but by < 4{\%}, with flow recovering as the ocean warmed to prior temperatures. During this cold-ocean period, the evolving glacier-bed/ice shelf system was also in a geometry favorable to stabilization. However, despite a minor, temporary decrease in ice discharge, the basin-wide thinning signal did not change. Thus, as predicted by theory, once marine ice sheet instability is underway, a single transient high-amplitude ocean cooling has only a relatively minor effect on ice flow. The long-term effects of ocean temperature variability on ice flow, however, are not yet known.",
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Christianson, K, Bushuk, M, Dutrieux, P, Parizek, BR, Joughin, IR, Alley, RB, Shean, DE, Abrahamsen, EP, Anandakrishnan, S, Heywood, KJ, Kim, TW, Lee, SH, Nicholls, K, Stanton, T, Truffer, M, Webber, BGM, Jenkins, A, Jacobs, S, Bindschadler, R & Holland, DM 2016, 'Sensitivity of Pine Island Glacier to observed ocean forcing', Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 43, no. 20, pp. 10,817-10,825. https://doi.org/10.1002/2016GL070500

Sensitivity of Pine Island Glacier to observed ocean forcing. / Christianson, Knut; Bushuk, Mitchell; Dutrieux, Pierre; Parizek, Byron R.; Joughin, Ian R.; Alley, Richard B.; Shean, David E.; Abrahamsen, E. Povl; Anandakrishnan, Sridhar; Heywood, Karen J.; Kim, Tae Wan; Lee, Sang Hoon; Nicholls, Keith; Stanton, Tim; Truffer, Martin; Webber, Benjamin G M; Jenkins, Adrian; Jacobs, Stan; Bindschadler, Robert; Holland, David M.

In: Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 43, No. 20, 28.10.2016, p. 10,817-10,825.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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T1 - Sensitivity of Pine Island Glacier to observed ocean forcing

AU - Christianson, Knut

AU - Bushuk, Mitchell

AU - Dutrieux, Pierre

AU - Parizek, Byron R.

AU - Joughin, Ian R.

AU - Alley, Richard B.

AU - Shean, David E.

AU - Abrahamsen, E. Povl

AU - Anandakrishnan, Sridhar

AU - Heywood, Karen J.

AU - Kim, Tae Wan

AU - Lee, Sang Hoon

AU - Nicholls, Keith

AU - Stanton, Tim

AU - Truffer, Martin

AU - Webber, Benjamin G M

AU - Jenkins, Adrian

AU - Jacobs, Stan

AU - Bindschadler, Robert

AU - Holland, David M.

PY - 2016/10/28

Y1 - 2016/10/28

N2 - We present subannual observations (2009–2014) of a major West Antarctic glacier (Pine Island Glacier) and the neighboring ocean. Ongoing glacier retreat and accelerated ice flow were likely triggered a few decades ago by increased ocean-induced thinning, which may have initiated marine ice sheet instability. Following a subsequent 60% drop in ocean heat content from early 2012 to late 2013, ice flow slowed, but by < 4%, with flow recovering as the ocean warmed to prior temperatures. During this cold-ocean period, the evolving glacier-bed/ice shelf system was also in a geometry favorable to stabilization. However, despite a minor, temporary decrease in ice discharge, the basin-wide thinning signal did not change. Thus, as predicted by theory, once marine ice sheet instability is underway, a single transient high-amplitude ocean cooling has only a relatively minor effect on ice flow. The long-term effects of ocean temperature variability on ice flow, however, are not yet known.

AB - We present subannual observations (2009–2014) of a major West Antarctic glacier (Pine Island Glacier) and the neighboring ocean. Ongoing glacier retreat and accelerated ice flow were likely triggered a few decades ago by increased ocean-induced thinning, which may have initiated marine ice sheet instability. Following a subsequent 60% drop in ocean heat content from early 2012 to late 2013, ice flow slowed, but by < 4%, with flow recovering as the ocean warmed to prior temperatures. During this cold-ocean period, the evolving glacier-bed/ice shelf system was also in a geometry favorable to stabilization. However, despite a minor, temporary decrease in ice discharge, the basin-wide thinning signal did not change. Thus, as predicted by theory, once marine ice sheet instability is underway, a single transient high-amplitude ocean cooling has only a relatively minor effect on ice flow. The long-term effects of ocean temperature variability on ice flow, however, are not yet known.

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