October 25, 2012 - Sea Ice off eastern Greenland

Sea Ice off eastern Greenland

In mid-October, 2012 the freeze-up off the eastern coast of Greenland was in high gear. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this true-color image of the dynamic region as it passed overhead on October 16, 2012.

Delicate swirls of sea ice have formed just off Greenland’s snow-covered coast and float over the Greenland Sea and Scoresby Sound. Banks of clouds hang over the Greenland Sea, aligned from the northwest to the southeast by prevailing winds. Tan color is visible between clouds. This may be wind-borne dust, which is frequently whipped up in this region as wind blows over glacial floury soil (loess), which is a light weight soil that builds up at the sides and terminus of glaciers as they slowly grind rock into dirt.

Almost 24 hours before this image was captured, the Aqua satellite, which orbits Earth 14 ½ times each day, was in a similar position, allowing the MODIS instrument to view the sea ice off eastern Greenland in a clearer-sky view. That image, acquired on October 15, appeared as the MODIS Image of the Day on October 22. To compare the two images, go to http://modis.gsfc.nasa.gov/gallery/individual.php?db_date=2012-10-22.

Image Facts
Satellite: Aqua
Date Acquired: 10/16/2012
Resolutions: 1km ( B), 500m ( B), 250m ( B)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC