Transatlantic Tuesday Night

THWAITES Graphic2.0.jpg

Marlo here. It's been a big week in Antarctic ice news, and it's only Tuesday. Yesterday, the media announced a huge joint project between the US's National Science Foundation and the UK's Natural Environment Research Council to study the Thwaites Glacier.

Studies have shown the Thwaites Glacier is the glacier of most concern. It is accelerating, it's thinning, and it's losing ice ever faster. The Thwaites Glacier is also enormous and contains enough water to significantly raise sea levels. While scientists agree it's in an irreversible retreat, questions remain: how much and how soon? 

Ahead of this news, Kev and I have been deep in preparation both on our animation about the Thwaites Glacier and the graphic above. It's an interesting thing working in time zones 5 hours apart, but as Kev pointed out to me a couple of days ago, he's a serious night owl and I'm a very early bird, so we're on much the same schedule. 

To coincide with yesterday's announcement, we were also interviewed by Brian Kahn of EARTHER. He had seen the Antarctic ice thickness maps Kev made from Antarctic ice thickness data. 

Kev says, "The data was in huge text files of hundreds of megabytes. Literally rows and columns of numbers. I wrote a program that read the files and plotted a grey pixel based on the value found. Never expected it to be so beautiful."

 Antarctic ice thickness                                                                                                BedMap2 + Somedudeonasofa

Antarctic ice thickness                                                                                                BedMap2 + Somedudeonasofa

Now, we know the Antarctic glaciology crowd has seen this data in map form before. Perhaps it even becomes humdrum after a while. But to us, it was a moment of pure magic. We continue to be blown away by how exquisite they are.

We've also been thrilled to see so many people engaged by their beauty and asking to know more about what they represent and why we're making what we're making. This is, after all, our mission at Pixel Makers & Movers — to share information about our changing polar ice with as broad and diverse an audience as possible. 

 Topography + ice thickness                                                                                        BedMap2 + Somedudeonasofa

Topography + ice thickness                                                                                        BedMap2 + Somedudeonasofa

BedMap (1) zoom.jpg

Big, isn't it?