Climate scientists call the polar continents "canaries in the coal mine" for climate change.

When we see big departures from the norm in the extreme north and south, changes are likely on the way for the rest of the planet.

The images here show the south end--Antarctica. Each one is a mosaic of 3,150 satellite pictures mashed together to form one grand view.

They're at a very high resolution and can be used by scientists to understand the condition of the ice.

"Looking at Antarctica from space gives us so much more information than we could ever get from the ground," says Julie Friddell, Canadian Cryospheric Information Network information services and science manager.

2014-08-29

Co.Exist

These Mashed-Up Photos Show Antarctica As You've Never Seen It Before

To truly understand what's happening with climate change, it helps to actually know what our shrinking southern continent looks like.

Climate scientists call the polar continents "canaries in the coal mine" for climate change. When we see big departures from the norm in the extreme north and south, changes are likely on the way for the rest of the planet.

The images here show the south end--Antarctica. Each one is a mosaic of 3,150 satellite pictures mashed together to form one grand view. They're at a very high resolution and can be used by scientists to understand the condition of the ice.

RADARSAT-2 Data and Products © MacDONALD, DETTWILER AND ASSOCIATES LTD. (2008) – All Rights Reserved. RADARSAT is an official mark of the Canadian Space Agency.

The images were created by MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates, which manages the RADARSAT-2 satellite on behalf of the Canadian Space Agency. They're hosted by the Canadian Cryospheric Information Network, at the University of Waterloo, which maintains the Polar Data Catalogue, a hub for several sets of polar data.

"Looking at Antarctica from space gives us so much more information than we could ever get from the ground," says Julie Friddell, CCIN's information services and science manager. "The images can tell us what is happening in places that we have never seen and may not see for a long time."

In fact, the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report showed contrasting fortunes for the Arctic and Antarctica. While the former's ice is retreating rapidly, the latter's has actually been growing to record-high levels. That doesn't mean climate change isn't occurring, though. It just means that the processes involved are more complicated than originally thought. Scientists are currently coming up with new theories.

[All Images: RADARSAT-2, © MacDONALD, DETTWILER AND ASSOCIATES LTD.]

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3 Comments

  • Jack Clifton Walters

    The man made co2 causes global warming hypothesis was never and will never be proven. First, it is a plant nutrient that is absorbed in quantities by plants that increase when or if more co2 is in the atmosphere. Secondly, co2 is such a small percentage of the total of "greenhouse gases" that it hardly has even a negligible influence whatsoever. Third, the hockey stick hide the decline type climatologists have wildly missed in their temperature and other forecasts, while skeptical climatologists have a much better track record, ie. Don Easterbrook or Roy Spencer. The Sun, not man, is in charge of our climate.

  • Stephen Abbott

    "Scientists are currently coming up with new theories." Yeah, I bet they are. 17 years now with no systematic "warming" and the Polar ice cap (and Antarctica, too, if they were honest) growing in ways they never predicted. Didn't Al Gore say all the ice would be gone by now?

    Stop the lying and maybe people will one day start believing scientists and the mass media again.