Australian scientists made a 3-D map of Antarctic sea ice.
Through the use of an icebreaker Aurora Australis, helicopters, and a robotic underwater vehicle, the researchers were able to record the topography of the ice from both the top and the bottom. The underwater vehicle swam 65 feet underneath the sea ice and recorded the depths of the ice with sonar.
With satellite data showing sea ice melting at an unprecedented rate in the Arctic, while increasing in the Antarctic, the information on the thickness and shape of the ice is welcome. The ice thickness can affect plankton blooms which fuel the ocean’s food chain as well as ocean currents.
Antarctic iceberg photo via Shutterstock