A Continent Dedicated to Science
• Landmark Imagery: RAMP
• International Polar Year
• Ice Velocity Mapping in Antarctica, ASF News & Notes
• Integrated View of Antarctica, ASF News & Notes
Antarctica is covered by a deep ice sheet that holds about 70 percent of the planet’s fresh water. The continent’s other features include ancient lakes deep under the ice, volcanoes, and life forms adapted to extreme conditions. Every year, a seasonal ozone hole opens up high in the atmosphere above Antarctica.
Science here has globally significant applications, in areas ranging from climate change, to conservation, to medicine. Antarctica is so important for scientific research that a 1959 international treaty made it a scientific preserve.
Antarctica Through Remote Sensing
Remote sensing has been central to detecting Antarctica's secrets. Synthetic aperture radar (SAR), used to create the majority of the imagery available in the ASF archive, is among the power tools of remote sensing and has been used extensively in mapping Antarctica. SAR bounces a microwave radar signal off the Earth's surface to detect physical properties. Unlike optical technology, SAR can "see" through darkness, clouds, and rain.
Antarctica Revealed Through SAR See RAMP
- First-ever detailed mapping of the entirety of Antarctica, developed from the 1997 RADARSAT-1 Antarctic Mapping Mission (RAMP).
- Second round of Antarctica mapping from the 2000 Modified Antarctic Mapping Mission (MAMM).
- Third round of Antarctica mapping, focusing in particular on glacier movements and changes, from the 2004 MiniMAMM.
Images of Polar Regions See Polar Year 07-08 (GIIPSY)
- High-definition satellite snapshots of the polar regions, including Antarctica, during 2007-2008, for gauging past and future environmental changes in the polar ice, ocean, and land. Collected as part of the Global Inter-agency International Polar-Snapshot Year (GIIPSY).