Earth  ID: 4871

Ocean Flows under the Pine Island Glacier, Antarctica

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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.

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Newer Versions

Visualization Credits

Lead Visualizer:
Cindy Starr (Global Science and Technology, Inc.)

Data Visualizers:
Horace Mitchell (NASA/GSFC)
Greg Shirah (NASA/GSFC)
Ernie Wright (USRA)

Project Support:
Laurence Schuler (ADNET Systems, Inc.)
Ian Jones (ADNET Systems, Inc.)

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

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Data Used:
ECCO3 High Resolution Ocean and Sea Ice Model
Model - NASA/JPL
Landsat 8/OLI/Mosaic of Amundsen Sea Embayment, Antarctica
An image mosaic comprised of 20 LandSat 8 tiles on the Amundsen Sea Embayment, Antarctica
Landsat 8 mission
BedMachine Antarctica V1
Data Compilation
A self-consistent dataset of the Antarctic Ice Sheet based on the conservation of mass
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)
Reference Elevation Model of Antarctica - 100m also referred to as: REMA
Data Compilation - The Polar Geospatial Center (PGC)
High resolution, time-stamped Digital Surface Model (DSM) of Antarctica at 100-meter spatial resolution
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.
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.

SVS >> Ice Shelf
DLESE >> Physical oceanography
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Cryosphere >> Glaciers/Ice Sheets
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Hydrosphere >> Glaciers/Ice Sheets
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Oceans >> Ocean Circulation
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Cryosphere >> Glaciers/Ice Sheets >> Glacier Thickness/Ice Sheet Thickness
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Hydrosphere >> Glaciers/Ice Sheets >> Glacier Thickness/Ice Sheet Thickness
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Hydrosphere >> Glaciers/Ice Sheets >> Glaciers
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Oceans >> Ocean Circulation >> Ocean Currents
SVS >> Hyperwall
SVS >> Glaciers
NASA Science >> Earth

GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation: Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version