May 15, 2024 - Autumn Snow in Patagonia


A rare cloud-free day On May 13, 2024, allowed the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite to capture a false-color image of autumn snow blanketing part of central Patagonia.

This type of false-color image is used to separate snow and ice, which looks electric blue, from clouds, which usually appear white but may be tinted electric blue if they are cold enough to carry ice crystals. In addition, vegetation looks bright green, deep water is dark blue, open land shows up as tan.

A heavy layer of snow stretches across Argentina, in the east, and snow also covers much of the Andes Mountains. In contrast, coastal Chile (west) remains mostly snow-free and dominated by vegetation. The two brightest blue areas atop the Andes are icefields. The Northern Patagonian Icefield is the smallest. The expansive Southern Patagonian Icefield gives rise to three glacial lakes, which are found on the eastern side of the icefield.

Image Facts
Satellite: Terra
Date Acquired: 5/13/2024
Resolutions: 1km (525.7 KB), 500m (1.2 MB), 250m (2.5 MB)
Bands Used: 7,2,1
Image Credit: MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC