Map of Arctic Sea Ice




The European Space Agency has released a map of sea ice thickness in the Arctic based on observations by the CryoSat-2 satellite. “CryoSat measures the height of the sea ice above the water line, known as the freeboard, to calculate the thickness. The measurements used to generate this first map of the Arctic were from January and February 2011, as the ice approaches its annual maximum. The data are exceptionally detailed and considerably better than the mission’s specification. They even show lineations in the central Arctic that reflect the ice’s response to wind stress.” There’s also a map of Antarctic ice, but it’s preliminary.

Google Earth: Imagery from the Louisiana flooding

A couple of days ago we showed you the location of the Morganza Spillway and the expected flood area, and now some fresh satellite imagery is coming in to show what’s actually been happening.


The imagery comes via GeoEye, and covers various parts of the Mississippi River from Illinois down to Louisiana. You can view all of the imagery using this KML file that Google unveiled last night.

For more, you can check out some additional imagery that was captured on Sunday and shown on the NASA Earth Observatory site, or see it in Google Earth with this KML file (note — it’s a 4MB image, so it make take a few seconds to load).

The white area next to the spillway is whitewater being churned up by the fierce flow of water, and you can clearly see fields and other nearby areas that have been flooded. I expect we’ll see more imagery from this area in the coming weeks as the water continues to rise.

Enhancements to the mountains in Google Earth

While Google continues to add great new features and tons of new imagery to Google Earth, they want to be clear that they’re not forgetting about some of the basic layers such as the Mountains and Water bodies.

A few days ago they pushed out an update to the Mountains layer which includes some powerful new features, including a detailed information window, Panoramio photos, cross-section views of the mountain and tours that they’ve created for every mountain. For example, here is a video showing the tour of the Matterhorn:

For this feature to work, you need to enable the “Mountains” layer on the left-hand panel in Google Earth. Of course, an increasingly difficult challenge is finding the proper layers as Google continues to add more of them. For the Mountains, you’ll find it under “Borders and Labels” –> “Labels” –> “Mountains”, as shown here:


In addition to the mountain layer changes, they’ve added thousands of new labels to the “Water Bodies” layer, which can be found just below the “Mountains” layer in the image above.

Hopefully Google will continue to finesse the organization of the layers section and make it easier to find the hidden gems like this one.