NASA on glaciers

The Ice Cubicle is delighted to report that WIRED magazine published a whole set of gorgeous NASA photos of glaciers online this week (Monday Sept. 21).

Stunning Views of Glaciers From Space is a visually incredible, helpfully annotated batch of images. Dates ranging from 2001 (a false-color photo of the Erebus Ice Tongue in Antarctica, built with data from the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite,) to recent images taken by humans who happen to be orbiting the planet.

Here’s a 2009 shot “taken by an astronaut on the International Space Station.” The glaciers in question: the Silverthrone Glacier and the Klinaklini Glacier, two of the many ice formations making up the vast Heiltskuk Ice Field in the southern Coast Mountains of British Columbia.


Of course it’s not only about the beauty. Writers Besty Mason and Hadley Leggett take care to point out  glacier movements that are likely due to climate change, such as this photograph of the Retreat of the Helheim Glacier, Greenland.

WIRED glaciers_2003helheim1a

“Measurements from NASA reveal that in just four years, the glacier’s margin retreated 4.7 miles and its flow speed increased from 5 to 7.5 miles per year. Between 2001 and 2003, the thickness of the glacier also shrunk by about 131 feet,” Mason and Leggett note. Photograph captured by NASA’s Terra satellite in 2003.

The whole article, centering around the idea that glaciers seem slow to us but read as quickly developing plots to geologists, is well worth a read.

Thanks to Luella for noticing the WIRED jump into the realm of The Ice Cubicle’s passions.

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