Articles | Volume 16, issue 2
The Cryosphere, 16, 397–417, 2022
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-16-397-2022
The Cryosphere, 16, 397–417, 2022
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-16-397-2022

Research article 03 Feb 2022

Research article | 03 Feb 2022

Weakening of the pinning point buttressing Thwaites Glacier, West Antarctica

Christian T. Wild et al.

Data sets

Thwaites Glacier grounding lines for 2014 and 2019/20 from height above flotation Christian T. Wild, Karen E. Alley, Atsuhiro Muto, Martin Truffer, Ted A. Scambos, and Erin C. Pettit https://doi.org/10.15784/601499

Short summary
Thwaites Glacier has the potential to significantly raise Antarctica's contribution to global sea-level rise by the end of this century. Here, we use satellite measurements of surface elevation to show that its floating part is close to losing contact with an underwater ridge that currently acts to stabilize. We then use computer models of ice flow to simulate the predicted unpinning, which show that accelerated ice discharge into the ocean follows the breakup of the floating part.