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Pine Island Glacier’s retreat ‘irreversible’

January 18, 2014

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By Jonathan Amos

Antarctica’s mighty Pine Island Glacier (PIG) is now very probably in a headlong, self-sustaining retreat.

This is the conclusion of three teams that have modelled its behaviour.


This means PIG is set to become an even more significant contributor to global sea level rise – on the order of perhaps 3.5-10mm in the next 20 years.


PIG is a colossal feature. Covering more than 160,000 sq km (two-thirds the size of the UK), it drains something like 20% of all the ice flowing off the west of the White Continent.

Satellite and airborne measurements have recorded a marked thinning and a surge in velocity in recent decades.

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