|Channelized ice melting in the ocean boundary layer beneath Pine Island Glacier, Antarctica.
|Year of Publication
|Stanton, TP, Shaw, WJ, Truffer, M, Corr, HFJ, Peters, LE, Riverman, KL, Bindschadler, R, Holland, DM, Anandakrishnan, S
|Science (New York, N.Y.)
|Antarctic Regions, Freezing, Ice Cover, Oceans and Seas
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.