Polar Ice Melt: GIS in Tracking the Melting Ice in Antarctica

It is the sea ice that keeps our planet cooler and a safer place to live. By reflecting the heat back into the surface of the Earth, the thick white snow in the Arctic and Antarctic oceans plays a very important role in protecting the environment and wildlife. 10% of the earth’s surface is covered by thick white snow. And while 90% of it is found in the Antarctic ocean the rest 10% can be traced in the Greenland ice cap.

However, as per the recent reports and the satellite-based images collected, the ice in Antarctica and Greenland has been melting at a fast pace. Thanks to the GIS (geographic information system). It has become possible because of these remote sensing tools to not only locate the areas with melting snow but identify the prime causes of the problem. These satellite-based images help you collect the information and pictures of the hard-to-reach areas. With the increased rate of global warming, researchers and scientists have shifted their focus towards the southernmost pole of Earth.

Despite being considered as a desert of Earth, Antarctica receives its fair share of snowfall regularly. The snow goes beneath the several thick layers of ice, developing glaciers that work as blankets protecting the surface of the continent.

How is the Melting Ice Traced?

Sadly, the reports have shown that this ice has been melting faster than ever. Some have linked it to the sudden and extreme fluctuations in the climate. It is also believed that with the climate changing at such a pace, it is only a matter of time before a large amount of ice in the Antarctic ocean, as well as Greenland, will be melted. The researchers have been using synthetic-aperture radar to identify the ice movement and shift in the ocean.

The data is also collected to get a better picture of the snow from different viewpoints. Surprisingly, this technique of collecting information about sea ice and its movements has been proven to be 10 times more effective than other techniques used in the past. These satellite-based images have covered as much as 70% of Antarctica showing us a detailed picture of the sea ice. As mentioned earlier, the main goal of the scientist is to identify the area in the Antarctic ocean where the largest amount of ice is melting and discover the area beneath this surface.

Even though the melting ice has attracted the attention of all scientists and researchers in the world, they are also tracking the slow-moving ice. To learn more about the slow-moving ice, you could download the datasets showing you the portion of the area highly susceptible to the melting snow. Melting ice isn’t only a concern for the environment, but it also affects the sea level in many cities. Scientists need to know the total amount of ice flowing into the ocean so that they can make accurate judgments about the locations highly prone to the changes in the sea level because of the melting ice.