Earth Imaging Journal: Remote Sensing, Satellite Images, Satellite Imagery
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October 2, 2017
Melting Greenland Glacier

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The European Space Agency (ESA) Copernicus Sentinel-2A satellite collected this false-color image over the jagged islands along the west coast of Greenland on Aug. 8, 2017.

Covering more than 2 million square kilometers, Greenland is the world’s largest island and home to the second largest ice sheet after Antarctica. But the ice sheets are sensitive to changes in climate, and rising temperatures are causing them to melt faster.

Scientists use Earth-observing satellites to track the ice loss. Between 2011 and 2014, Greenland lost approximately 1,000 billion metric tons of ice, corresponding to a 0.75-millimeter contribution to global sea-level rise each year.

On the right side of this image, the Nordenskiold Glacier is just one of many glaciers draining Greenland’s ice sheet. Vegetation appears red in this false-color image, as the land here is covered by grasses and low-lying plants. Swirls of light blue in the water are suspended fine sediment produced by the abrasion of glaciers rubbing against rock, called “glacier milk.”

(Photo Credit: Copyright contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2017), processed by ESA)

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