Map of West Antarctic ice sheet

Antarctica’s West Antarctic Ice Sheet, pictured at right, has two massive ice slabs (the Ronne and Ross Ice Shelves) and many smaller, flat ice plates that sit right at sea level, afloat on the Southern Ocean. Satellite and ground-based observations of the glaciers and floating ice surrounding the Pine Island Bay area reveal that much of the ice in the area has seen significant flow acceleration—meaning more ice is flowing into the ocean—since the 1970s.