Recent dramatic thinning of largest West Antarctic ice stream triggered by oceans



[1] A growing body of observational data suggests that Pine Island Glacier (PIG) is changing on decadal or shorter timescales. These changes may have far-reaching consequences for the future of the West Antarctic ice sheet (WAIS) and global sea levels because of PIG's role as the ice sheet's primary drainage portal. We test the hypothesis that these changes are triggered by the adjoining ocean. Specifically, we employ an advanced numerical ice-flow model to simulate the effects of perturbations at the grounding line on PIG's dynamics. The speed at which these changes are propagated upstream implies a tight coupling between ice-sheet interior and surrounding ocean.