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Global Climate Change DigestArchives of the
Global Climate Change Digest

A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999

FROM VOLUME 11, NUMBER 8, AUGUST 1998

PROFESSIONAL PUBLICATIONS...
GLACIAL RETREAT


Item #d98aug18

“Fast Recession of a West Antarctic Glacier,” E. J. Rignot (Jet Propulsion Lab., Calif. Inst. Technol., MS 300- 235, Pasadena, CA, 91109-8099; eric@adelie.jpl. nasa.gov),Science 281 (5376), 549-551 (July 24, 1998).

Satellite radar data on the Pine Island Glacier in West Antarctica revealed the up-and-down flexing of the glacial tongue as tides rose and fell beneath it. The grounding point formed a hinge for this motion, and the location of that hinge could be tracked from 1992 to 1996. During those five years, the hinge line retreated about 1.2 km per year, implying that the ice thinned by about 3.5 m per year. These actions were attributed to melting of the base of the glacier by the relatively warm Pacific Ocean waters that undercut it.


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