05 Dec 2011:
Hidden Contours of Antarctica
Depicted in Map of ‘Ice-free’ Continent
Scientists with the British Antarctic Survey have published the most detailed map yet of what Antarctica’s landscape would look like without its thick covering of ice
, showing that large portions of the frozen
continent actually rest on the sea bed rather than on land. Using data collected by aerial flights, satellite technology, and research ships over 50 years, British researchers were able to illustrate mountain peaks that are the size of the European Alps but are hidden below thousands of feet of ice. Less than 1 percent of the continent’s rock base is currently visible above the ice, which is three miles thick in places. Known as BEDMAP, the imagery will be shown during a meeting of the American Geophysical Union this week. With increasing evidence that the edges of Antarctica are warming faster than anywhere else on Earth, the new imagery could help scientists forecast future melting. Meanwhile, a new study by researchers at Yale and Purdue universities says the formation of Antarctica’s vast ice sheet 34 million years ago was largely the result of a significant decrease in carbon dioxide levels
in the global atmosphere.
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
Yale Environment 360
articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia
, the online educational network. Visit the site.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
Photographer Robert Wintner documents the exquisite beauty and biodiversity of Cuba’s unspoiled coral reefs. View the gallery.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
The Warriors of Qiugang
, a Yale Environment 360
video, chronicles a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant. It was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
Watch the video.
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland
. © Google & TerraMetrics.
A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.