New map shows Antarctica as you've never seen it before

US scientists have released what they say is the most accurate high-resolution map of Antarctica ever created. 

The new map, called the Reference Elevation Model of Antarctica (REMA), 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. 

It has a resolution of two to eight metres, whereas typical maps have a resolution of 1000 metres, according to Ohio State University. A larger version of the image can be seen here.


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

Antarctica: Journey to the bottom of the world
Kiwi adventurer Mark Sedon is at the forefront of Antarctic exploration
Antarctica travel tips: 20 ways to have the ultimate Antarctica trip

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

The map and related data will change science in Antarctica, particularly as it is updated, Howat said. 

“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.

“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.”

With a total file size of more than 150 terabytes, the map will help scientists plan trips over treacherous terrain on the continent.

“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,” Howat said.

The map was created using photographs taken from a group of polar-orbitting satellites. 

Software developed by Howat and MJ Noh of the Byrd Centre was used to process the data on “supercomputers” and assemble overlapping images.

The project was supported by the US NAtional Geospatial Intelligence Agency and the National Science Foundation.

Before REMA, we had better maps of Mars than Antarctica, Ohio State University professor Ian Howat said.


Before REMA, we had better maps of Mars than Antarctica, Ohio State University professor Ian Howat said.

 – Stuff

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *