Scientists at the University of Bristol have built a new model that should shed light on the melting process of Pine Island, the largest glacier in Antarctica. Over the past 40 years, its impact on sea level rise has proven to be the most significant, and in recent years, researchers believed that the glacier was melting much faster than before. This is reported by Science Alert.
Changes on Pine Island were tracked using satellite images - the results were unexpected. The glacier is melting fastest at the edges, but its central part began to decrease five times slower when comparing the new findings with the 2007 observations.
Thus, scientists believe, the glacier will continue to lose mass, but not faster than it is now. By the present moment, Pine Island has decreased by 20 km in 50 years. Researchers call this indicator "insignificant" compared to more pessimistic forecasts.
At the same time, the University of Bristol physicist Jonathan Bumper warns not to be too happy. “This may sound like good news, but it is important to remember that the glacier will continue to melt in the future and this process will accelerate, albeit not as quickly as previously thought,” he said. According to Bamber, it is necessary to understand why different models give different results, and based on new observations, understand how the glacier will develop.