Scientists create new map of Antarctica, better than before

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Representational Image
Representational Image

New Delhi : A thought for Antarctica would probably let you think about the massive chunk of land, dwarfs the continental United States and the ice covered landscape 

Yet, Antarctica has been a subject of interest for scientists and researchers for long time. And, finally the endless effort resulted in the most stunning and accurate map of the continent ever.

The new map of Antarctica has been named as the Reference Elevation Model of Antartica (or REMA). It was created by researchers at Ohio State University led by Professor Ian Howat. His dream to create the incredibly detailed map has replaced the otherwise simple map of Antarctica which was just plain without detailing.

“Up until now, we’ve had a better map of Mars than we’ve had of Antarctica,” Howat, a professor of Earth sciences and director of the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center, said in a statement. “Now it is the best-mapped continent.”

To create the map, Howat and his team had to filter through a huge amount of data that was regularly being gathered by satellites cruising over the continent. To help in fragmenting together the various high-resolution images, the researchers built a tool that matched the images up, overlapping edges and aligning it to be as accurate as possible.

The end result is a map that is not only incredibly sharp but also extremely large in terms of file size. The full map’s size actually tops 150 terabytes.  Scientists also mentioned that Antarctica is a great indicator of the health of the climate and by measuring changes in the ice in the region experts can learn a lot about where the planet is moving towards.

“At this resolution, you can see almost everything,” Howat explains. “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.”