07 Jun 2013:
New Map of Antarctica Provides
Clearest Glimpse of Subglacial Continent
Click to enlarge
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Antarctica's subglacial terrain
British scientists have unveiled the most detailed topographical map available yet of Antarctica
, a vast dataset that provides a penetrating 3-D view of the frozen continent down to the bedrock level and could offer key insights into how it will respond to climate change. Based on millions of measurements collected over several decades, the British Antarctic Survey
’s Bedmap2 project illustrates the continent with a level of clarity and resolution not previously available, including a vivid look at the mountain landscapes buried in ice and valleys that run deeper than had been known. The scientists say a better understanding of the landscape of the bedrock will help modelers predict the behavior of Antarctica’s ice sheet in the coming decades and the extent to which melting along the continent’s edges could increase sea levels. The map was based on millions of measurements collected by satellites, land-based surveys, and ice-penetrating measurements of the subglacial bedrock
collected by aircraft in a NASA-based project known as Operation IceBridge.
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Photographer Peter Essick documents the swift changes wrought by global warming in Antarctica, Greenland, and other far-flung places. View the gallery.
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In a Yale Environment 360
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