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Start of Iceberg Calving Off Pine Island Glacier, Antarctica – February 6th, 2012

75.1S 100W

February 6th, 2012 Category: Climate Change, Glaciers and Ice Caps

Pine Island Glacier - January 28th, 2012

The Pine Island Glacier, visible at the center of this image, is a large ice stream flowing west-northwest along the south side of the Hudson Mountains into Pine Island Bay, Amundsen Sea, Antarctica. The image focuses on a floating ice shelf at the downstream end of Pine Island Glacier. The crack shows the start of a large iceberg calving.

The area drained by Pine Island Glacier comprises about 10 percent of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Satellite measurements have shown that the Pine Island Glacier Basin has a greater net contribution of ice to the sea than any other ice drainage basin in the world and this has increased due to recent acceleration of the ice stream.

The Pine Island and Thwaites Glaciers are two of Antarctica’s five largest ice streams. Scientists have found that the flow of these ice streams has accelerated in recent years, and suggested that if they were to melt, global sea levels would rise by 0.9 to 1.9 m (2 ft 10 in to 6 ft 3 in), destabilising the entire West Antarctic Ice Sheet and perhaps sections of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet.

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