Summer thaw was underway on the fringe of eastern Greenland when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite passed overhead and captured this image on July 13, 2007. Inland (l.), snow and ice make a white blanket, while closer to sea (c. and r.) the annual snow has retreated from much of the rocky coastline and from the surface of some glaciers, which appear slightly gray. In the fjords, meltwater carrying finely ground sediment, crushed by the movement of glaciers over rock, colors the water turquoise. NASA
The first snow storm of 2006 dumped several inches of snow across a wide swath of the midwestern US, with snowfall totals from four to five inches recorded in Chicago to as much as a foot just north of the city. Beyond the traffic accidents caused by icy roads, the storm was not a remarkable one. It did, however, leave a clear track across the Midwest and the Great Lakes region. NASA/Jesse Allen/Earth Observatory/Goddard Earth Sciences DAAC
The MODIS provides data in 36 spectral bands, some of which are used in an algorithm to map global snow cover in 2002. NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio. Snow Data Preparation was done by The MODIS Snow & Ice Team, Janet Y. L. Chien. Blue Marble data courtesy of Reto Stockli. Technical Assistance from the following SVS team members: Randall Jones, Kevin Mahoney, Marte Newcombe, Tom Bridgman, Lori Perkins, Gregory Shirah, Eric Sokolowsky, James Williams.
The MODIS on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this unusual view of Turkey nearly completely covered in snow on January 29, 2006. The Mediterranean nation usually enjoys mild, wet winters, with snow confined to the mountainous interior, but January 2006 brought unusual weather to much of Asia and Europe. A strong jet stream channeled Arctic air south, leaving Europe and Asia in a deep freeze. NASA/Jeff Schmaltz/MODIS Rapid Response Team/NASA GSFC
NASA's Operation Ice Bridge researchers and crew complete the first flight of the Antarctic campaign. The flight was made from the southern tip of South America and its primary target was the Getz Ice Shelf along Antarctica's Amundsen Coast. During the flight along Amundsen Coast, the aircraft's downward-looking Digital Mapping System camera captured this image of sea ice from an altitude of at least 20,000 feet. NASA
This close-up view shows a field of snow dunes, produced by NASA's RADARSAT-1/SAR instrument in 1999. NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio
On February 28, 2005, the MODIS flying aboard NASA’s Terra satellite caught this view of snow in Europe. To make it easier to tell the difference between cloud and snow, the scene was created using both short wave infrared and visible light. The resulting combination makes the snow appear red, plant-covered areas look blue-green, and clouds appear white and light orange. NASA/Jesse Allen, Earth Observatory, using data obtained from the MODIS Rapid Response team.
The International Space Station is backdropped against clouds and snow-covered mountains in this photo from the Space Shuttle Discovery on March 18, 2001. It is a standard operation for the shuttle to make a final fly-around of the outpost following unlinking from it. NASA
Glaciers are an important indicator of climate change. While scientists estimate that there are about 80,000 glaciers worldwide, there may actually be many more. ASTER science team members have begun a global inventory of land ice, including surface topography, to measure how and how quickly Earth's ice is changing. One goal of the Global Land Ice Measurements from Space Project is to create a geographic information system capable of measuring changes in individual glaciers. NASA/JPL-Caltech
An iceberg is seen out the window of NASA's DC-8 research aircraft as it flies 2,000 feet above the Amundsen Sea in West Antarctica on Oct., 21, 2009. This was taken on the fourth science flight of NASA's Operation Ice Bridge airborne Earth science mission to study Antarctic ice sheets, sea ice, and ice shelves. NASA/Jane Peterson
Dryden's SR-71B, NASA 831, slices across the snowy southern Sierra Nevada Mountains of California after being refueled by an Air Force Flight Test Center tanker during a recent flight. The Mach 3 aircraft are being flown by the Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, California as testbeds for high-speed, high-altitude aeronautical research. NASA
The central provinces of South Korea were crippled when heavy snow closed roads throughout the region, including many in the country’s capital, Seoul in March 2004. According to news reports, the city of Daejon in central South Korea, received 19 inches of snow. As the storm moved away from the peninsula on March 7, 2004, the MODIS on the Terra satellite captured this image of South Korea under a blanket of snow. NASA/Jeff Schmaltz/MODIS Land Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC
This image of Comet Hale-Bopp was taken by Jim Young of JPL's Table Mountain Observatory, approximately 30 miles east of Los Angeles on March 7, 1997. The bright head of the comet, called the coma, is seen at the bottom of this image, and is pointed toward the Sun. The coma is composed of dust and gas, masking the solid nucleus of the comet made up of rock, dust and ice. NASA
Cassini conducts its first close flyby of Saturn's icy moon Enceladus (en-SELL-uh-duss) at a distance of approximately 730 miles. Enceladus is one of the most reflective objects in the solar system and its surface resembles freshly fallen snow. Cassini's flyby of Enceladus is the closest ever by any spacecraft. NASA
A powerful Alaskan storm swept over California, drenching the state with record rain and snow. In this MODIS image, taken by NASA’s Terra satellite on October 31, 2004, after the clouds cleared, snow highlights the peaks of the long mountain chain that forms California’s eastern border with Nevada. NASA
The meteorological dilettantes among us will periodically prod snowbanks with yardsticks as the Blizzard of 2013 deposits its snow on eastern Massachusetts and beyond this weekend. But when it comes to storm records for Boston, all eyes will be on Logan Airport's snow gauge – the ultimate arbiter.