science

Antarctica MAPPED out in extraordinarily high detail


Scientists created the map over a six year period and by using more than 180,000 satellite images.

The new map allows one to see every nook and mountain range and was created by scientists at Ohio State University in collaboration with the Polar Geospatial Center at the University of Minnesota and the University of Illinois.

Not only is the map the most detailed of Antarctica ever created, it is one of the most detailed maps ever made full stop.

Regular maps have a resolution of resolution of 1000 metres, whereas the Reference Elevation Model of Antarctica (REMA) has a resolution of two to eight metres.

The point of the map being so detailed is that scientists will be able to monitor how ice levels change over time in Antarctica.

Ian Howat, professor of earth sciences and director of the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center at Ohio State University, said: “It is the highest resolution terrain map by far of any continent.

“Up until now we’ve had a better map of Mars than we’ve had of Antarctica. Now it is the best-mapped continent.”

Prof Howat added that amazingly, the astonishingly high resolution of the map allows scientists to know the exact height of each mountain in the icy continent.

He continued: “It changes the threshold of what you can do in the comfort of your own office compared to what you had to do in the field.

“At this resolution, you can see almost everything. We can actually see variations in the snow in some places. We will be able to measure changes in the surface of the continent over time.

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“We will see changes in snow cover, changes in the motion of ice, we will be able to monitor river discharge, flooding and volcanoes. We will be able to see the thinning of glaciers.”



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