Last updated October 10, 2018

Widespread, rapid grounding line retreat of Pine Island, Thwaites, Smith, and Kohler glaciers, West Antarctica, from 1992 to 2011

  • Measures the grounding line retreat of glaciers draining the Amundsen Sea sector of West Antarctica using Earth Remote Sensing (ERS-1/2) satellite radar interferometry from 1992 to 2011
  • Finds that
    • The Pine Island Glacier retreated 31 km at its center, with most retreat in 2005–2009 when the glacier ungrounded from its ice plain
    • The Thwaites Glacier retreated 14 km along its fast flow core and 1 to 9 km along the sides
    • The Haynes Glacier retreated 10 km along its flanks
    • The FniSmith/Kohler glaciers retreated the most, 35 km along its ice plain, and its ice shelf pinning points are vanishing
  • States that these rapid retreats proceed along regions of retrograde bed elevation mapped at a high spatial resolution using a mass conservation technique that removes residual ambiguities from prior mappings
  • Finds no major bed obstacle upstream of the 2011 grounding line positions that would prevent the glaciers from further retreat and draw down the entire basin