El Nino tied to melting of Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier

January 2, 2014 7:00 PM

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El Nino tied to melting of Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier

Pine Island Glacier is one of the biggest routes for ice to flow from Antarctica into the sea. The floating ice shelf at the glacier’s tip has been melting and thinning for the past four decades, causing the glacier to speed up and discharge more ice.

Understanding this ice shelf is a key for predicting sea-level rise in a warming world. A paper published Jan. 2 in the advance online version of the journal Science shows that the ice shelf melting depends on the local wind direction, which is tied to tropical changes associated with El Nino.

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