New map of Antarctica shows the icy continent in 'stunning detail'
Planning a trip to Antarctica? Now there's a new map to guide your way.
Scientists from Ohio State University and the University of Minnesota have created what they say is the best, most complete and accurate map ever made of the frozen continent at the bottom of the world (see example, below).
"Up until now, we've had a better map of Mars than we've had of Antarctica," Ian Howat, earth science professor at Ohio State, said in a statement. "Now it is the best-mapped continent on Earth."
The map uses high-resolution satellite images to show the continent in "stunning detail" It will also provide new insight on climate change.
Amazingly, researchers now know the height of every mountain and all the ice in all of Antarctica within a few feet. “It is the highest-resolution terrain map by far of any continent,” said Howat.
"Considering that Antarctica is the highest, driest, and one of the most remote places on Earth, we now have an incredible topographic model to measure against in the future," said Paul Morin, a University of Minnesota earth sciences researcher.
Global warming has dramatically changed the landscape over the past several decades. Over 3 trillion tons of ice has melted from Antarctica since 1992, a study reported earlier this year.
More: Global warming has melted over 3 trillion tons of ice in Antarctica since 1992, and it's only getting worse
That's equivalent to more than 2 quadrillion gallons of water added to the world's oceans, making Antarctica's melting ice sheets one of the largest contributors to rising sea levels.
“Now we’ll be able to see changes in melting and deposition of ice better than ever before,” Morin said. “That will help us understand the impact of climate change and sea level rise. We’ll be able to see it right before our eyes.”