April 8, 2024 - Fading Ice on Lake Sakakawea

Ice on the Snake River

Winte.r retained its last grasp on North Dakota when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite acquired this true-color image on April 3, 2024.

Although warming daytime highs had already wiped the landscape clear of snow by April 3, a layer of ice still covered Lake Sakakawea, an 180-mile-long impoundment of the Missouri River. Ice also capped various smaller lakes across the state. Just three days later, nighttime low temperatures in Minot, North Dakota, jumped from 25°F (-3.8°C) to 36°F (2.2°C) and daytime highs rose from 54°F (12.2°C) to 61°F (16.1°C). This warm-up triggered dramatic ice melt—by April 6, satellite images showed Lake Sakakawea completely ice-free.

The earliest “ice free” date on record for Sakakawea is March 27, 2012, just 69 days later than it was declared frozen on Jan 18, 2012.

Image Facts
Satellite: Terra
Date Acquired: 4/3/2024
Resolutions: 1km (54.9 KB), 500m (142.2 KB), 250m (288.4 KB)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC