Monday, March 06, 2023

Sea Ice in Antarctica

A new interactive sea ice map has been released which can be used to help plan sea voyages and to aid climate change research in the Antarctic. Nilas -The Southern Ocean Mapping Platform uses historical and near real-time data on sea ice & sea-surface temperatures in Antarctica and also allows you to explore both the latest data and historical data on chlorophyll concentrations (a proxy for phytoplankton production).

The Australian Antarctic Division developed the map to support both their research into Antarctica and their operational activities. The map includes sea ice extent and sea surface temperatures dating back to 1981 and chlorophyll from 1998. The data allows the AAD to use the map to help plan marine-science voyages. The map can help scientists to understand the historical conditions during the planned dates of a voyage and to reveal the best time to visit a location to achieve a mission's objective.

The map itself uses the Leaflet JavaScript mapping library. My guess is that Nilas uses a custom made polar projection map of Antarctica. This custom polar projection could then be displayed using the Proj4Leaflet plugin for map projections not natively supported by Leaflet. Nilas also appears to have used the leaflet-panel-layers plugin to help build the map's menu panels. 

If you are interested in exploring historic climate and weather data at the other end of the Earth then you might also be interested in SOAC's maps of the Arctic. The National Snow and Ice Data Center has created a series of interactive maps which visualize Satellite Observations of Arctic Change. The maps allow you to see how sea ice, snow cover and frozen ground have all been shrinking during the 21st Century. Other maps plot air temperature changes in the Arctic and the changes to Arctic vegetation.

Each of the NSIDC interactive maps uses NASA satellite data and research to plot changes to the Arctic from 1979 to 2015. The maps allow you to observe the data for each year in this period to observe how global warming has affected the ecological systems of the Arctic. Global warming is causing observable changes to ecological systems in the Arctic. Air temperatures in the Arctic are rising and sea ice extent is declining. Even Arctic vegetation is changing with tundra being replaced by shrubs.

No comments: