Ocean Flows under the Pine Island Glacier, Antarctica

  • Released Thursday, November 5, 2020
  • Updated Monday, November 1, 2021 at 4:03PM
  • ID: 4871

Glaciers surrounding the Amundsen Sea in Antarctica have been rapidly melting. As glaciers flow out from land to the ocean, large expanses of ice behind their leading edges float on the seawater. The point on a glacier where it first loses contact with land is called the grounding line. Nearly all glacier melt occurs on the underside of the glacier beyond the grounding line, on the section floating on seawater as the warmer ocean currents erode the base of the floating ice.

This visualization shows the ocean currents in the Amundsen Sea derived from the "Estimating the Circulation and Climate of the Ocean" (ECCO) ocean circulation model. The visualization approaches the Pine Island Glacier, dives beneath the water and views the ocean flows circulating beneath the floating ice. The surface of the ice sheet is exaggerated by 4x while the topography below sea level is exaggerated by 15x for the purpose of clarity.


Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio

Datasets used in this visualization

BedMachine Antarctica V1
Data Compilation

A self-consistent dataset of the Antarctic Ice Sheet based on the conservation of mass

Credit: Morlighem, M., Rignot, E., Binder, T. et al. Deep glacial troughs and stabilizing ridges unveiled beneath the margins of the Antarctic ice sheet. Nature Geoscience 13, 132–137 (2020)

See more visualizations using this data set
ECCO3 High Resolution Ocean and Sea Ice Model
Landsat 8 Mosaic of Amundsen Sea Embayment, Antarctica (Collected with the OLI sensor)

An image mosaic comprised of 20 LandSat 8 tiles on the Amundsen Sea Embayment, Antarctica

Credit: Landsat 8 mission

See more visualizations using this data set
REMA (A.K.A. Reference Elevation Model of Antarctica - 100m)
Data CompilationThe Polar Geospatial Center (PGC)

High resolution, time-stamped Digital Surface Model (DSM) of Antarctica at 100-meter spatial resolution

Credit: DEMs provided by the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center and the Polar Geospatial. Computer time provided through a Blue Waters Innovation Initiative. DEMs produced using data from DigitalGlobe, Inc.

See more visualizations using this data set

Note: While we identify the data sets used in these visualizations, we do not store any further details nor the data sets themselves on our site.

You may also like...