The Pine Island Glacier is more vulnerable than previously thought, and could cause a 1.6-foot sea level rise

Pine Island Ice Shelf in Antarctica is more vulnerable than previously thought and could cause global sea levels to rise 1.6 FEET if it collapses, study warns

  • The Pine Island Ice Shelf retains enough ice to raise sea levels by 1.6 feet.
  • Could be more vulnerable to complete disintegration than previously thought
  • In a warmer climate, calving events are likely to be more frequent
  • Experts hope the study will further indicate the urgent need to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate the worst effects of climate change.

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About the same size as England, Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier is one of the largest and fastest-changing glaciers in the world.

The glacier is responsible for about 25 percent of Antarctica’s ice loss, equivalent to the amount of water in 13,000 Olympic-size swimming pools.

But a new study has warned that the Pine Island Ice Shelf, the ice shelf that controls the flow of ice from the Pine Island Glacier, could be more vulnerable to complete breakup than previously thought.

Worryingly, experts from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) say its collapse could cause global sea levels to rise a whopping 1.6 feet (0.5 meters).

A new study has warned that the Pine Island Ice Shelf, the ice shelf that controls the flow of ice from the Pine Island Glacier, could be more vulnerable to complete breakup than previously thought.

A new study has warned that the Pine Island Ice Shelf, the ice shelf that controls the flow of ice from the Pine Island Glacier, could be more vulnerable to complete breakup than previously thought.

Isle of Pines Glacier

The Pine Island Ice Shelf controls the flow of ice from the Pine Island Glacier, roughly the size of England, into the Amundsen Sea.

This is a crucial role as the glacier is one of the largest and most changeable in the world.

It is also responsible for about 25 percent of Antarctica’s ice loss.

This is equivalent to the amount of water in 13,000 Olympic swimming pools.

Previous studies have shown that the Pine Island Ice Shelf is becoming increasingly fragile due to two key processes.

First, the ice shelf is undergoing further thinning as a result of an increase in the amount of ice melting into the sea.

Meanwhile, calving events have also increased in recent years, during which ice masses break up into icebergs.

Now, in a new study, BAS researchers have shown that the combination of calving and melting will likely cause it to disintegrate faster than previously thought.

“This study highlights the extreme sensitivity of ice shelves to climate change,” said Dr Alex Bradley, BAS ocean modeller and lead author of the study.

“It shows that the interaction between calving and melting can promote the breakup of the Pine Island Ice Shelf, which we already thought was vulnerable to collapse.”

To reach this conclusion, the team used advanced ocean modeling techniques to simulate the effects of ongoing calving events.

The graph shows how the ice front of the Pine Island Glacier ice front has retreated from 2009 to 2020

The graph shows how the ice front of the Pine Island Glacier ice front has retreated from 2009 to 2020

The graph shows how the ice front of the Pine Island Glacier ice front has retreated from 2009 to 2020

Previous studies have shown that the Pine Island Ice Shelf is becoming increasingly fragile due to two key processes.

Previous studies have shown that the Pine Island Ice Shelf is becoming increasingly fragile due to two key processes.

Previous studies have shown that the Pine Island Ice Shelf is becoming increasingly fragile due to two key processes.

Their simulations showed that calving events could result in further thinning of the ice shelf, which in turn will make the ice shelf more vulnerable to calving.

This suggests that there could be a feedback loop between the two processes and hasten the complete collapse of the ice shelf.

This would reduce the ice shelf’s ability to stop the flow of ice from Pine Island Glacier into the sea and increase its contribution to global sea level rise.

“The complete breakup of the Pine Island Ice Shelf will have profound consequences not only for the Pine Island Glacier but for all of West Antarctica, as it is believed to play an integral role in maintaining the stability of the ice sheet. of West Antarctica,” explained Dr. Bradley.

In warmer weather, calving events are likely to be more frequent, experts warn.

They hope the new study will further point to the urgent need to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate the worst effects of climate change.

Pine Island Glacier isn’t the only one at risk of collapsing: Earlier this month, a study warned that Antarctica’s Thwaites Glacier is also “holding on with its fingernails.”

The BAS researchers found that the glacier, which is widely known as the Doomsday Glacier, has retreated twice as fast as previously thought in the last 200 years.

For the first time, scientists have mapped in high resolution a critical area of ​​seafloor off Thwaites that gives them insight into how fast the glacier retreated and moved in the past.

The stunning images show geological features that are new to science and also provide a kind of crystal ball to see into Thwaites’ future.

Alarmingly, analysis of the new images indicates that the rate of Thwaites’ retreat that scientists have most recently documented is small compared to the faster rates of change in the past.

THE MELTING OF GLACIERS AND ICE SHEETS WILL HAVE A ‘DRAMATIC IMPACT’ ON GLOBAL SEA LEVELS

Global sea levels could rise by up to 10 feet (3 meters) if the Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica collapses.

Sea level rise threatens cities from Shanghai to London, low-lying swathes of Florida or Bangladesh, and entire nations like the Maldives.

In the UK, for example, a rise of 6.7 feet (2 meters) or more can put areas such as Hull, Peterborough, Portsmouth and parts of East London and the Thames Estuary at risk of being submerged.

Glacier collapse, which could start decades away, could also submerge major cities like New York and Sydney.

Parts of New Orleans, Houston and Miami in the southern US would also be particularly affected.

A 2014 study by the Union of Concerned Scientists looked at 52 indicators of sea level in US communities.

It found that tidal flooding will increase dramatically in many places on the East and Gulf Coasts, based on a conservative estimate of sea level rises predicted based on current data.

The results showed that most of these communities will experience a sharp increase in the number and severity of tidal flooding in the coming decades.

By 2030, more than half of the 52 communities studied are projected to experience, on average, at least 24 tidal floods per year in exposed areas, assuming projections of moderate sea level rise. Twenty of these communities could triple or more in tidal flood events.

The mid-Atlantic coast is expected to experience some of the largest increases in flood frequency. Places like Annapolis, Maryland, and Washington, DC can expect more than 150 tidal floods a year, and several places in New Jersey could experience 80 tidal floods or more.

In the UK, a rise of two meters (6.5 feet) by 2040 would cause much of Kent to be almost completely submerged, according to the results of a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science in November 2016.

Areas on the south coast like Portsmouth, as well as Cambridge and Peterborough would also be hit hard.

Cities and towns around the Humber Estuary, such as Hull, Scunthorpe and Grimsby, would also experience intense flooding.

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