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New map reveals secrets of Antarctica below the ice
by Staff Writers
Greenbelt, Md. (UPI) Jun 5, 2013

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

NASA says data from several missions has helped create a map of Antarctica giving a clearer picture of the continent from the ice surface to the bedrock below.

The new dataset called Bedmap2 is the result of work led by the British Antarctic Survey, whose researchers compiled decades worth of geophysical measurements such as surface elevation measurements from NASA's Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite, or ICESat, and ice thickness data collected by aircraft in Operation IceBridge, the space agency reported Wednesday.

With effects ranging from influencing ocean currents to raising sea level, Antarctica plays a large role in the global climate system, and researchers want to understand how Antarctica will react to a changing climate but say previously limited information on ice thickness and what lies beneath the ice made this work challenging.

Now, thanks to the new work published in the journal The Cryosphere, scientists will have a new detailed map of the frozen continent to help in their studies, NASA said.

Bedmap2 is a collection of three datasets; surface elevation, ice thickness and bedrock topography, all useful for future Antarctic research, scientists said.

"It will be an important resource for the next generation of ice sheet modelers, physical oceanographers and structural geologists," British Antarctic Survey researcher Peter Fretwell, the study's lead author, said.


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