On February 24, 2014 the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite passed over Alaska and Canada’s western Yukon Territory and acquired this true-color image of a late winter scene.
Bright white ice covers Alaska’s North Slope, and extends over the Beaufort Sea. The rugged Brooks Range runs roughly southwest to northeast, and appears well covered in snow. Snow cover is thinner in Alaska’s interior, where greens of the dark coniferous forest and other vegetation can be seen. Rivers cut through the landscape like shining white snakes – the high reflectance indicating a solid layer of ice atop most of the inland rivers and waterways.
In the southwest section of the image, the Cook Inlet appears dark gray, indicating a high level of glacial silt. The city of Anchorage sits at the inland tip of Cook Inlet, on the triangular piece of land created by Turnagain Arm in the south and Knik Arm in the north. At the 2010 census, Anchorage was home to approximately 292,000 people. On the day this image was captured, Anchorage was celebrating its 79th Fur Rendezvous, a mid-winter festival that began as a three-day winter sports festival that coincided with the time that miners and trappers came to town with their goods. Today it is a ten-day festival of all things Alaskan, including winter games and dog sled races.