Sunday, 11 December 2011

This is how Antarctica looks without ice!

If you ever wondered how the Antarctic ice-free look, a new detailed map of the southernmost continent on the globe will surely delight.

Specifically, members of the project BEDMAP managed on the basis of data collected from decades of ships, aircraft and satellites, and even the sleigh, to simulate the soil.

It is interesting that less than one percent of its land is covered with a white blanket. On the map below the highest peaks are marked with red and black. Light Blue indicates a clear extension of the continent, while the lowest area marked dark blue. Some of them are now well below sea level.

This model is not only beautiful, it's also important to explore the possible impact of global warming on the white continent. In fact, scientists recently recorded major changes at the ends of the continent of which are separated by large parts of the ice and melt in oceanic waters. Data gathered by BADMAP will help scientists to predict the extent and speed of developments.

"That information is the foundation of our models that reveal how the ice travels the continent," said Hamish Pritcard the British Antarctic Survey.

"Snow constantly supplying Antarctic ice sheet and ice constantly sliding towards the shore where it dissolves or breaks. It is big and slow hydrological cycle. To create such models need knowledge about the complex physics of ice, and topographic map of the soil in which ice slides, and that is BEDMAP. "

The map is presented at a session of "American Geophysical Union (AGU)", the largest annual conference of planetary scientists in the world.

The radar surveys were used because microwave radiation penetrates the ice, but not through the rocks.

Most interesting in the new model is certainly an area Gamburtsev mountain range where the highest peaks reaching 3000 meters above sea level. Despite these elevations are covered with thick layers of ice more than 1000 meters.

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