Earth from Space: What's Floating Down the Fjord Today, Dear?

By Robinson Meyer
glacier615.jpg

NASA

Earlier this month, a huge ice island broke free of the Petermann Glacier in Greenland, part of an  'extreme melt event' in that country. On Saturday, a camera on NASA's Terra satellite captured the picture above, of the island floating down its fjord.

The camera, specifically, was ASTER: the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer. The image looks starker than life because it is: ASTER combines infrared light, and the red and green wavelengths of visible light, to help scientists distinguish between water and land. NASA's documentation of the image reads:

Water is blue, ice and snow vary in color from pale blue to white, and land areas appear brick red and brown. Clouds in the scene cast dark shadows onto the iceberg surface.

And, the documentation also notes, surface cracks -- such as were present when the island split away -- have already again appeared on both the island and the glacier.

Below, recent Pictures of the Day:


This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/07/earth-from-space-whats-floating-down-the-fjord-today-dear/260296/