Spatial and temporal evolution of Pine Island Glacier thinning, 1995–2006
Article first published online: 9 SEP 2009
Copyright 2009 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 36, Issue 17, September 2009
How to Cite
2009), Spatial and temporal evolution of Pine Island Glacier thinning, 1995–2006, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L17501, doi:10.1029/2009GL039126., , and (
- Issue published online: 9 SEP 2009
- Article first published online: 9 SEP 2009
- Manuscript Accepted: 5 AUG 2009
- Manuscript Revised: 24 JUL 2009
- Manuscript Received: 12 MAY 2009
- West Antarctica;
 We use ERS-2 and ENVISAT satellite radar altimetry to examine spatial and temporal changes in the rate of thinning of the Pine Island Glacier, West Antarctica, during the period 1995 to 2006. We show that the pattern of thinning has both accelerated and spread inland to encompass tributaries flowing into the central trunk of the glacier. Within the 5,400 km2 central trunk, the average rate of volume loss quadrupled from 2.6 ± 0.3 km3 yr−1 in 1995 to 10.1 ± 0.3 km3 yr−1 in 2006. The region of lightly grounded ice at the glacier terminus is extending upstream, and the changes inland are consistent with the effects of a prolonged disturbance to the ice flow, such as the effects of ocean-driven melting. If the acceleration continues at its present rate, the main trunk of PIG will be afloat within some 100 years, six times sooner than anticipated.