"In order to accurately simulate the dynamic response of ice sheets to changing environmental conditions, such as temperature and snow accumulation, we need to know the shape and structure of the bedrock below the ice sheets in great detail," Michael Studinger, IceBridge project scientist, said in a statement. NASA's IceBridge airborne mapping missions over Antarctica contributed about 12 percent of the ice-thickness data points necessary for the map, according to NASA.
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The project, called BedMap2, is part of an international collaboration led by the British Antarctic Survey to calculate the total extent of ice in Antarctica — an essential step in predicting potential future sea level rise. To do so, researchers needed to know the details of the continent's underlying topography, from broad valleys to buried mountain ranges.
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