Ocean Flows under the Pine Island Glacier, Antarctica

  • Released Thursday, November 5, 2020

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

Release date

This page was originally published on Thursday, November 5, 2020.
This page was last updated on Monday, July 15, 2024 at 12:08 AM EDT.

Datasets used in this visualization

  • ECCO3 High Resolution Ocean and Sea Ice Model

    ID: 802
    Type: Model
  • Mosaic of Amundsen Sea Embayment, Antarctica [Landsat 8: OLI]

    ID: 1098
    Type: MosaicSensor: OLI

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

    Credit: Landsat 8 mission

    See all pages that use this dataset
  • BedMachine Antarctica V1

    ID: 1099
    Type: 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 all pages that use this dataset
  • REMA (Reference Elevation Model of Antarctica - 100m)

    ID: 1110
    Type: Data Compilation

    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 all pages that use this dataset

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.