Changement climatique - Recherche française (avec laboratoires CNRS) - 2010-2015


Retreat of Pine Island Glacier controlled by marine ice-sheet instability

Publication Year


  • Favier, L.
  • Durand, G.
  • Cornford, S. L.
  • Gudmundsson, G. H.
  • Gagliardini, O.
  • Gillet-Chaulet, F.
  • Zwinger, T.
  • Payne, A. J.
  • Le Brocq, A. M.
NATURE CLIMATE CHANGE Volume: 4 Issue: 2 Pages: 117-121 Published: 2014
1758-678X eISSN: 1758-6798

Over the past 40 years Pine Island Glacier in West Antarctica has thinned at an accelerating rate(1-3), so that at present it is the largest single contributor to sea-level rise in Antarctica(4). In recent years, the grounding line, which separates the grounded ice sheet from the floating ice shelf, has retreated by tens of kilometres(5). At present, the grounding line is crossing a retrograde bedrock slope that lies well below sea level, raising the possibility that the glacier is susceptible to the marine ice-sheet instability mechanism(6-8). Here, using three state-of-the-art ice-flow models(9-11), we show that Pine Island Glacier's grounding line is probably engaged in an unstable 40 km retreat. The associated mass loss increases substantially over the course of our simulations from the average value of 20 Gt yr(-1) observed for the 1992-2011 period(4), up to and above 100 Gt yr(-1), equivalent to 3.5-10mm eustatic sea-level rise over the following 20 years. Mass loss remains elevated from then on, ranging from 60 to 120 Gt yr(-1).

KeyWord(s) Plus
  • FLOW
ESI Discipline(s)
  • Environment/Ecology
  • Geosciences
  • Social Sciences
Web of Science Category(ies)
  • Environmental Sciences
  • Environmental Studies
  • Meteorology & Atmospheric Sciences

[Favier, L.; Durand, G.; Gagliardini, O.; Gillet-Chaulet, F.] CNRS, LGGE, F-38041 Grenoble, France; [Favier, L.; Durand, G.; Gagliardini, O.; Gillet-Chaulet, F.] Univ Grenoble Alpes, LGGE, F-38041 Grenoble, France; [Cornford, S. L.; Payne, A. J.] Univ Bristol, Sch Geog Sci, Bristol BS8 1SS, Avon, England; [Gudmundsson, G. H.] British Antarctic Survey, NERC, Cambridge CB3 0ET, England; [Gudmundsson, G. H.] Chinese Acad Sci, CAREERI, Lanzhou 730000, Peoples R China; [Gagliardini, O.] Inst Univ France, F-75005 Paris, France; [Zwinger, T.] CSC IT Ctr Sci Ltd, FIN-02101 Espoo, Finland; [Le Brocq, A. M.] Univ Exeter, Coll Life & Environm Sci, Exeter EX4 4RJ, Devon, England

Reprint Adress

Favier, L (reprint author), CNRS, LGGE, F-38041 Grenoble, France.

  • Finland
  • France
  • People's Republic of China
  • United Kingdom
CNRS - Adress(es)
  • Laboratoire de glaciologie et géophysique de l'environnement (LGGE), UMR5183
Accession Number
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