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This map image of the ice covering Antarctica has been developed by the Bedmap2 to measure the amount of ice above the Antarctic continent. (Photo via NASA Goddard Photo and Video)

Understanding the rising seas means having an accurate knowledge of how much ice remains in lands difficult to study — namely, Antarctica. As a changing climate rise becomes a reality, millions of people living near the coast will want to know how it affects their cities and homes. Scientists want to be as exact as possible when studying the amount of ice remaining on the planet, because any inaccuracy could change projections of sea level rise.

(MORE: Could Coral Reefs Go Extinct?)

Antarctica holds about 60 percent of the world’s freshwater in its ice sheet, according to NASA. Using a dataset called Bedmap2, NASA is getting a better picture of the topography that lies below the Antarctic ice sheet, one of only two remaining sheets of its kind in the world. (The other is located over Greenland.) This IceBridge mission is important because any change in the believed Antarctic topography may alter estimates of how much ice could melt into our oceans and change sea levels. Ice thickness, as well as the shape of the rocks beneath the ice sheet, could change our projections on melting ice, reports FastCoExist.

Bedmap 2, like its predecessor, Bedmap, collects data to map Antarctica, but in using tighter grid spaces, Bedmap 2 can hone in on the details of the continent’s layout and gather better information, according to the NASA report. The report also compares the two datasets with images to show the differences in detail.

via Weather Underground.

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