NASA / GODDARD SPACE FLIGHT CENTER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / GODDARD SPACE FLIGHT CENTER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Animation showing measurements beneath the Pine Island Ice Shelf, Antarctica. On the margins of Antarctica, the ice shelf acts as a dam, slowing the movement of outlet glaciers flowing toward the sea. However, the ice shelves are exposed to the underlying ocean, and may weaken as a result of warm ocean currents. This model is based on recent measurements on the Pine Island glacier, a major outlet of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet that has rapidly thinned and accelerated in recent decades. The observations revealed a 600-metre-wide and 80-metre-deep channel cut into the underside of the ice shelf, that incurs melting beneath the ice shelf of 0.06 m per day. This animation shows the ocean currents coloured by their velocity, circulating around and under the Pine Island Ice Shelf. Orange and yellow indicate faster currents while green and blue depict slower. The drill site for the measuring instrument is shown in section. The topography and ice shelf thickness is exaggerated by 15 times.
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