AuthorTopic: You've Never Seen a Map of Antarctica Like This Before  (Read 468 times)

Offline Surly1

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You've Never Seen a Map of Antarctica Like This Before
« on: May 29, 2018, 03:17:10 AM »
You've Never Seen a Map of Antarctica Like This Before

Image: Kevin Pluck

Our planet is a cool and good planet. To prove this point, I would simply point you to the map above.

The ethereal black and white image shows the thickness of all of Antarctica’s ice. It speaks to both the grandeur of the seventh continent and human ingenuity. Why humanity is on a course to melt all that ice is beyond me.

The map comes courtesy of Kevin Pluck, a software engineer, statistician, and animator, who pulled a massive dataset of Antarctic ice known as Bedmap2 for a project he was working on (more on that in a moment). The dataset is the compilation of a number of different observing methods, including airborne radar and satellite measurements. It took scientists years to compile and is one of the most comprehensive datasets of Antarctica’s ice and underlying bedrock.

“After downloading the enormous data files, I needed a way to check that I had processed them correctly so I thought the simplest way to do it was to plot a grey pixel based on the thickness value,” Pluck told Earther via Twitter direct message. “Out popped what you see here. I was stunned, I had never seen something so beautiful come from pure data before.”

Indeed.

The white areas are where the ice is thickest, with the towering and stable ice sheet of East Antarctica standing out most prominently. The Antarctic Peninsula—home to the Larsen C ice shelf that calved a huge iceberg last year—drifts off in the ocean in the upper left corner, but it’s that ghostly patch of gray and black in the lower left that had Pluck downloading the data in the first place.

The glaciers that hold back West Antarctica are the weakest links in the icy armor ringing the continent. They could already be in a state of unstoppable collapse that will unfold over centuries, causing seas to rise by up to 10 feet. But some scientists are growing concerned that changes could happen even more rapidly due to something called marine ice cliff instability, where a quirk of geology could create enormous problems.

The bedrock slopes downward under some of West Antarctica’s glaciers the further inland it goes. That means as warm waters eat away at the front of glaciers, the ice cliffs that remain grow ever higher and more prone to collapse under their own weight.

Thwaites is one of those glaciers where this process could play out. In an effort to suss out what’s happening there, the British Antarctic Survey and the National Snow and Ice Data Center announced a new collaboration on Monday. The $25-million investment will fund eight projects aimed at getting a better handle on how the glacier has changed in the past and what the future may hold. Pluck and Marlo Garnsworthy, his partner at the science communication firm Pixel Movers and Makers, were working on graphics for the announcement when he made his inadvertent Antarctic artwork.

“Our motivation is to inform as many people as we can about our vital polar ice—and more generally to visualize science concepts and make animations and sci-art that illuminate and inspire action, and which are accessible to broad and diverse audiences, young and old,” Garnsworthy told Earther. “We believe difficult messages about our changing planet are best delivered with humor, hope, and appealing imagery.”

I’m not sure the Antarctic ice image qualifies as funny or hopeful, but it sure is appealing.

Image: Kevin Pluck
"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly now, love mercy now, walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it."

Offline Palloy2

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Re: You've Never Seen a Map of Antarctica Like This Before
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2018, 05:46:30 AM »
Quote
"unstoppable collapse that will unfold over centuries"

- some say 1,000 years or more, but that's not worth mentioning.
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Online K-Dog

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Re: You've Never Seen a Map of Antarctica Like This Before
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2018, 07:49:44 AM »
Perhaps Trump could build his wall in Antarctica.  Instead of holding back Mexicans the wall can hold back ice!
Under ideal conditions of temperature and pressure the organism will grow without limit.

Offline agelbert

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Re: You've Never Seen a Map of Antarctica Like This Before
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2018, 11:27:28 AM »
Antarctica is not just losing a steady amount of ice each year; the ice loss is accelerating each and every year.

Quote
Note: the grey area is the average sea ice extent for the day of year +/- two standard deviations (+/- 2σ). Average and standard deviation are computed from the 1981-2010 (WMO standard) data.

It might take centuries to melt ALL of it, but it WILL only take few decades to melt enough of it to cause trillions of dollars in damage to ports and sea side cities. The cretins who do not want to admit this threat needs to be addressed NOW by a ban on the burning of fossil fuels will always claim the melting of the ice is "not worth mentioning".

We need fossil fuels like a dog needs ticks.



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