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article imageVideo: New NASA animation shows Antarctica without ice

By Jordan Howell     Jun 9, 2013 in Science
Sheets of ice one mile thick cover most of Antarctica, obscuring many of its geographical features. Now a new animation by NASA offers the most detailed and accurate picture yet of what the landmass would look like if all that ice were to melt.
The project, based on data compiled by the British Antarctic Survey using measurements from NASA’s ICESat satellite and Operation IceBridge, offers some new information regarding the flow of Antarctica’s ice shelves into the sea.
“Measuring the thickness of the Antarctic ice sheet, more than 3 kilometers thick in some places, and mapping the topography of the underlying bedrock, helps us understand how the ice flows and ultimately how much it will contribute to sea level rise,” according to the new video released by NASA.
“Together these measurements will improve scientists’ understanding of the evolving Antarctic ice sheet and its influence on the surrounding ocean and our global climate, and will enhance scientific understanding of the continent.”
If the icecap were to melt, the study predicts a 58 meter sea level rise.
The project is based on an earlier study led by the British Antarctic Survey known as Bedmap2. According to a more detailed explanation published in the journal Cryosphere, scientists compiled two decades of data comprising over 25 million measurements to construct Bedmap2.
"The new Bedmap shows, with unprecedented detail, the bedrock beneath the ice sheets of Antarctica. Before we had a regional overview of the topography, but this new map, with its much higher resolution, shows the landscape itself; a complex landscape of mountains, hills and rolling plains, dissected by valleys troughs and deep gorges," said Peter Fretwell in the press release for the British Antarctic Survey.
More about NASA, Antarctic, antarcti, Bedmap, Glaciers
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