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Science & Technology

Underwater robot maps Antarctic sea ice

November 24, 2014 | Comment icon 6 comments

The average sea ice thickness in Antarctica is difficult to measure. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Liam Quinn
A remote-controlled submarine has discovered that the ice is a lot thicker in some places than expected.
The thickness of Antarctica's sea ice remains one of the most important factors in measuring the effects of global warming in the region, however a combination of technological hurdles and difficult conditions makes obtaining accurate figures a huge challenge.

This may soon be set to change however as scientists have this week revealed the first ever high resolution 3D maps of the sea ice thanks to a special remote-controlled submarine that can swim down below the floes and take measurements from underneath.
Covering an area of over 5.4 million square feet, the data was recorded between 2010 and 2012 by an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle known as SeaBED. The findings suggested that the thickness of sea ice in some areas was greater than scientists had been expecting to see.

"Sea ice thickness and its variability in the Antarctic remains one of the great unknowns in the climate system," said Ted Maksym of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.

It is hoped that the data will lead to a better understanding of average sea ice thickness across the Antarctic and subsequently what effect climate change might be having on it.

Source: Reuters | Comments (6)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by DemonicCupcake 7 years ago
That's pretty COOL.
Comment icon #2 Posted by DONTEATUS 7 years ago
THats a lot of Frozen Margarita`s ! Some places its 65 feet thick !
Comment icon #3 Posted by back to earth 7 years ago
Up to 4770 meters thick on the land.
Comment icon #4 Posted by back to earth 7 years ago
In some places ... in others ; 0 meters
Comment icon #5 Posted by Merc14 7 years ago
In some places ... in others ; 0 meters Antarctica has always had snowless deserts .
Comment icon #6 Posted by paperdyer 7 years ago
I wonder if this will change our conception of just how big the land mass is?

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