Sensitivity of Pine Island Glacier to observed ocean forcing
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- Sensitivity of Pine Island Glacier to observed ocean forcing
- Knut, Christianson
Parizek, Byron R.
Joughin, Ian R.
Alley, Richard B.
Shean, David E.
Abrahamsen, E. Povl
Webber, Benjamin G. M.
Holland, David M.
- Issue Date
- Knut, Christianson, et al. 2016. "Sensitivity of Pine Island Glacier to observed ocean forcing". Geophysical Research Letters, 43(20): 10817-10825.
- 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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