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CO2 Budget Depletion

03 Nov 2023

Three Icebergs break off West Antarctica’s most Endangered Glacier

Images recently posted in the Arctic Sea Ice Forum reveal three significant breakups, or calving events, in mid-October on Pine Island Glacier’s floating ice shelf in West Antarctica.  

Pine Island Glacier (PIG) is Antarctica’s fastest melting glacier, and therefore the region’s greatest contributor to sea level rise. PIG is increasingly fragile due to thinning caused by heightened ice shelf melting and an increase in calving events, in which masses of ice break off into icebergs and make the glacier even more vulnerable to potential collapse.  

PIG and its neighboring Thwaites Glacier are located in the Amundsen Sea Embayment, a large reservoir of frozen water, the release of which could result in a staggering surge in global sea levels if both glaciers collapse. Thwaites is known as the Doomsday Glacier because its collapse could take all of West Antarctica with it.  

Olivia Rosane of Ecowatch has noted that Pine Island Glacier has already lost 25% of its ice shelf. PIG contains approximately 180 trillions of ice, equivalent to 0.5 meters or 1.6 feet of global sea level rise. Together, the rapid melting of Thwaites and Pine Island glaciers could cause global sea levels to rise by four feet. 

While iceberg calving from Antarctic ice shelves is a natural process, calving events such as this most recent one appear to be happening more frequently and is likely exacerbated by global warming.  

Read more about committed melt on both poles HERE.



The following gauges show up-to-date data regarding key indicators in the Arctic. These indicators clearly point to the crisis at hand.

Greenland rate of ice loss
13 million l/s
on average
13 million tonnes/s
on average
Arctic Sea Ice Extent
532,000 km²
below 1981-2010 average on 17-Apr-2024
205,405 mi²
below 1981-2010 average on 17-Apr-2024
Arctic Amplification
4 times
faster than global average
Arctic 66N+ Wildfire emissions
-0.00 megatonnes CO₂e
CO₂e emissions in 2024 so far
Arctic Air Quality (PM2.5)
3.27 microgram per cubic meter
on 18-Apr-2024
Global mean Sea Level
since 1993