Journal cover Journal topic
The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2017-262
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
12 Jan 2018
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC).
Bathymetric Controls on Calving Processes at Pine Island Glacier
Jan Erik Arndt1, Robert D. Larter2, Peter Friedl3, Karsten Gohl1, and Kathrin Höppner3 1Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Am Handelshafen 12, 27570 Bremerhaven, Germany
2British Antarctic Survey, High Cross Madingley Road, Cambridge, CB3 0ET, UK
3German Aerospace Center (DLR), German Remote Sensing Data Center, Oberpfaffenhofen, Münchener Str. 20, 82234 Wessling, Germany
Abstract. Pine Island Glacier is the largest current Antarctic contributor to sea level rise. Its ice loss has substantially increased over the last 25 years through thinning, acceleration and grounding line retreat. However, the calving line positions of the stabilizing ice shelf did not show any trend within the observational record (last 70 years) until calving in 2015 led to unprecedented retreat and changed alignment of the calving front. Bathymetric surveying revealed a ridge below the former ice shelf and two shallower highs to the north. Satellite imagery shows that ice contact on the ridge likely was lost in 2006 but was followed by intermittent contact resulting in back stress fluctuations on the ice shelf. Continuing ice shelf flow also led to occasional ice shelf contact with the northern bathymetric highs, which initiated rift formation that led to calving. The observations show that bathymetry is an important factor in initiating calving events.
Citation: Arndt, J. E., Larter, R. D., Friedl, P., Gohl, K., and Höppner, K.: Bathymetric Controls on Calving Processes at Pine Island Glacier, The Cryosphere Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2017-262, in review, 2018.
Jan Erik Arndt et al.
Jan Erik Arndt et al.

Data sets

Bathymetry measured near Pine Island Glacier during POLARSTERN cruise PS104 J. E. Arndt https://doi.org/10.1594/PANGAEA.881546
Jan Erik Arndt et al.

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Short summary
The calving line location of the Pine Island Glacier did not show any trend within the last 70 years until calving in 2015 led to unprecedented retreat. In February 2017 we accessed this previously ice shelf covered area with RV Polarstern and mapped the seafloor topography for the first time. Satellite imagery of the last decades show how the newly mapped shoals affected the ice shelf development and highlights that seafloor topography is an important factor in initiating calving events.
The calving line location of the Pine Island Glacier did not show any trend within the last 70...
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