University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Scott Polar Research Institute - Physical Sciences Seminar > Subglacial conditions on Pine Island Glacier, West Antarctica: Results from ground-based geophysical surveys; and plans for future activities with the iSTAR Programme

Subglacial conditions on Pine Island Glacier, West Antarctica: Results from ground-based geophysical surveys; and plans for future activities with the iSTAR Programme

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Pine Island Glacier is changing; it is currently the single biggest contributor to global sea level rise from the whole of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. The source of this change seems to be oceanographic, but it is glaciological factors, including interactions between the ice and its bed, which control the nature of the glacier’s response.

Two recent geophysical experiments illustrate the potential influence of subglacial conditions on the dynamics of Pine Island Glacier. The first experiment identified a subglacial geological boundary that appears to coincide with changes in ice flow and basal drag; the second experiment measured subglacial erosion of 32 m over a 49-year period. One conclusion from both experiments is the potential influence erosion can have on a glacier’s form and flow. Pine Island Glacier continues to be a focus for ice sheet stability research. Plans are evolving for the next phase of this research with NERC ’s iSTAR Programme.

This talk is part of the Scott Polar Research Institute - Physical Sciences Seminar series.

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