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Top Story

Researchers release the most accurate map of Antarctica terrain

A team of National Science Foundation-funded researchers have released the most accurate high-resolution terrain map of Antarctica ever created. The map uses high-resolution satellite images to show the continent in stunning detail and will provide new insight on climate change. The map, called the Reference Elevation Model of Antarctica (REMA), has a resolution of 8 meters (about 26 feet). This means that researchers now know the height of every mountain and all the ice in all of Antarctica within a few feet. In the past, the most accurate topographical map was within about 1 kilometer, or about a half mile, in elevation. The new map covers about 14 million square kilometers (5.4 million square miles), which is about 50 percent larger than the lower 48 states of the U.S. About 99 percent of Antarctica is covered in ice. This new map provides unprecedented detail that will help scientists measure the impact of climate change over time. The map also is precise and accurate enough that it will allow scientific teams to plan trips over the treacherous Antarctic terrain.

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