Antarctic ice holds clues to climate

2012-10-11 08:00
Scientists have produced the first three dimensional map of the surface beneath Antarctic sea ice. (Brennan Linsley, AP)

Scientists have produced the first three dimensional map of the surface beneath Antarctic sea ice. (Brennan Linsley, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

  • Climate Change
    Read more about the environmental changes and challenges the world faces. Now R261.00
    buy now

Sydney - Scientists have produced the first three dimensional map of the surface beneath Antarctic sea ice, helping them better understand the impact of climate change on Antarctica.

The team of scientists from eight countries have used a robot submarine to chart a frozen and inverted world of mountains and valleys, allowing accurate measurements of the crucial thickness of Antarctic sea ice.

By combining the data with airborne measures of surface ice and snow, scientists can now accurately measure changes in ice thickness and better understand the affects of global warming.

"The ice thickness is regarded amongst climate scientists as the holy grail of determining changes in the system," said Antarctic marine glaciologist Jan Lieser.

"If we can determine the change in the thickness of the sea ice we can estimate the rate of change that is due to global warming."

Robot submarine

Scientists have ice thickness data for the Arctic region dating back to the 1950s, allowing for analysis of changes in the Arctic Ocean, but similar data has been unavailable for the ice around the frozen Southern continent.

Lieser, who is aboard an Australian icebreaker in Antarctic waters, is part of the Sea Ice Physics and Ecosystem Experiment project, involving scientists from Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand and the US.

They are using a free-swimming robot submarine, which moves about 20m below the ice and travels in a grid pattern, using multi-beam sonar to measure the underside of the ice.

Lieser said changes in sea ice thickness affects the formation of cold, salty Antarctic bottom water that drives global ocean currents and is crucial for sea life, from phytoplankton and krill to whales.

"We can actually get a full 3D image of what we are measuring. It's never been done before and that's really exciting," Lieser added.

The results will help set a baseline to establish how climate change affects Antarctic sea ice. Scientists will also be able to examine how changes to sea ice affect the ecosystem.

Similar tests in 2007 used only airborne equipment and produced only two dimensional maps, which are less accurate.

Read more on:    climate change
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
37 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

Zuma: Pray for peaceful polls

President Jacob Zuma has asked members of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God to pray for peaceful elections on 7 May.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Saturday Cape Town - 07:38 AM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    EVENT - left lane closed between Rhodes Avenue and UCT
  • Saturday Constantia - 07:19 AM
    Road name: Rhodes Drive Both Ways
    ROAD CLOSED between Constantia Nek and Canterbury Road until 1300
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Nokia C3

The Nokia C3 Features a 2+ Megapixel Camera, A2DP, Bluetooth,...

From R1175.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Self-indulgence may be strong today. You may want to enjoy yourself to the fullest and share it with those that make you feel...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.