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Snow and Ice

Last updated:Dec 13, 2012

This page features a selection of images that show snow and ice from around the world, both on land and at sea.

Formations of snow and ice can form artistic scenes which can be impressive to view.

Click on the thumbnail images to learn more and see larger versions of the images.


23 July 2018 - Iceberg towers over Greenland Village

In July 2018, an iceberg weighing 11 million tons parked just offshore of Innaarsuit, a small island village in northwestern Greenland. Ground-based photographs show its impressive height as it towered over the small village.

"This is absolutely beautiful," said Kelly Brunt, a glaciologist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. "The z dimension (height) is pretty extreme." When viewed from space, however, the iceberg is like a "Where's Waldo?" puzzle, becoming lost in a sea of similar looking bergs. On 05 July 2018, the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 acquired this natural-colour image of the area.

Greenland, Iceberg

Credit: NASA Earth Observatory


15 April 2018 - Tendril of ice in the Weddell Sea

On 04 April 2018, the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite captured this natural-colour image of sea ice between various levels of cloud cover. As austral autumn progresses, sea ice around Antarctica is starting to grow again after reaching its annual minimum extent on 20–21 February.

The long, isolated patch of ice is a curiosity that is not easily explained. "The sea ice edge is usually pretty far south this time of year," said Ron Kwok, an ice scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "I have never seen a coherent feature by itself like that in the middle of the ocean that survives without melting."

Weddell Sea

Credit: NASA Earth Observatory


14 October 2015 - Malaspina Glacier, United States of America

The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat-8 captured this image of the Malaspina Glacier in Alaska on 24 September 2015.

The main source of ice comes from Seward Glacier, located at the top-centre of this image. The Agassiz and Libbey glaciers are visible on the left side, and the Hayden and Marvine glaciers are on the right.

Malaspina Glacier

Credit: NASA Earth Observatory, using Landsat data from the United States Geological Survey


13 April 2015 - Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina

This Landsat-8 image, acquired on 28 February 2014, shows part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field in the Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina.

In the full image we can see three glaciers running off from the ice field into lakes situated in the national park. These are the Viedma, Upsala and Perito Moreno Glacier's. These are just a few of the many glaciers in the park, most of which are in the process of retreating over the last fifty years.

Los Glaciares National Park

Credit: United States Geological Survey (USGS) / European Space Agency (ESA)


07 April 2015 - Lena River Delta, Siberia

This view of part of the Lena River delta in Siberia was imaged by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) TanDEM-X satellites in October 2014.

The colours correspond to the different signals that the satellites transmit and receive. For instance, the ice floes covering the river channels appear in blue, whereas the frozen ground takes on a greyish colour. Yellow patches can be seen in the midst of this frozen ground, which correspond to shallow bodies of water.

Lena River

Credit: German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR)


16 March 2015 - Amundsen Gulf, Antarctica

The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 acquired this image of an interesting sea ice edge on 21 June 2014, the first day of summer. The scene shows a part of the Amundsen Gulf, between Canada's Victoria Island and the mainland, that opens to the Beaufort Sea to the west. The gulf forms the westernmost section of the Northwest Passage, which opened during the low-ice year of 2007, but remained ice-bound in 2014.

Amundsen Gulf

Credit: NASA Earth Observatory / United States Geological Survey (USGS)


09 February 2015 - Mount Sidley, Antarctica

Mount Sidley, the tallest volcano in Antarctica, is pictured in this Landsat 8 image, acquired on 20 November 2014.

The volcano is one of five volcanoes that constitute the Executive Committee Range, which was discovered in 1940. Sidley stands about 4,200 metres (13,800 feet) above sea level and 2,200 metres (7,200 feet) above ice level.

Mount Sidley

Credit: NASA Earth Observatory / United States Geological Survey (USGS)


21 January 2015 - Ice on Lake Erie, U.S.A.

Ice floes in Lake Erie, on the shore of Eastlake, Ohio, can be seen in this image from the Flock 1 constellation. The image was acquired on 10 January 2015 and shows the result of rapid freezing on the lake this month.

Lake Erie is one of the five Great Lakes of North America, and regularly freezes during wintry conditions. It is particularly prone to freezing due to the depth of the lake, which is shallower than the other Great Lakes.

Lake Erie

Credit: 2015 Planet Labs Inc.


28 November 2014 - Snow covers Portage la Prairie, Canada

The Flock 1 nanosatellite constellation acquired this view of the town of Portage la Prairie in the Manitoba region of Canada. Snow blankets the entire area and town in this image, and dark marks and streaks highlight fields and buildings amongst the snow.

Portage la Prairie

Credit: 2014 Planet Labs Inc.


22 October 2014 - Blizzard in Nepal

NASA's Aqua satellite acquired this view over Nepal on 16 October 2014. It shows the aftermath of Cyclone Hudhud, which after passing India several days before brought snow more than a metre deep to Nepal.

This snow posed a serious threat to mountain climbers and hikers in the mountains, and so far the bodies of 40 victims have been recovered. The snow and strong winds caused people to fall from their routes or become buried under the snow. Rescue operations saved over 200 people, but it is believed that more are still missing.

Blizzard in Nepal

Credit: NASA Earth Observatory


05 September 2014 - Snow on the coast of Greenland

This Landsat-8 image, acquired 12 June 2013, shows ice streams on the southern coast of Greenland, which flow from Greenland's ice sheet.

As in the MetOp image featured previously, this Landsat image is another example of studying our changing climate. The Landsat series in particular continues to be of great benefit to scientists, as the series has been collecting observations from its satellites for decades.

Greenland coast

Credit: United States Geological Survey (USGS) / European Space Agency (ESA)


28 August 2014 - Summer sea ice in the Arctic

MetOp-A acquired this view of sea ice in the Arctic on 11 August 2014. Views such as this help scientists to understand the current state of sea ice, particularly its extent. This enables them to track the historical changes in order to understand what may cause it, as well as to predict what may happen in the future.

Credit: EUMETSAT 2014


21 August 2014 - Yakutat Glacier, United States of America

The Yakutat Glacier can be seen in this Landsat 8 image, acquired on 13 August 2013. Located in Alaska, scientists have been monitoring the retreat of this glacier and NASA's Landsat satellites have been used to analyse this.

Glaciologists have recorded that the glacier has lost more than than five kilometres of ice over the past twenty years and estimate that it is, in part, due to a centuries long process. More recently, they postulate that man-made changes to the climate are affecting the glacier's retreat.

Credit: NASA Earth Observatory


11 June 2014 - Jakobshavn Glacier, Greenland

This Landsat 8 image, acquired on 01 June 2014, shows the Jakobshavn Ibsrae Glacier in Greenland, which underwent a calving event during May 2014.

The glacier lost kilometres of ice and it is believed that it will continue to lose more over time, due to it's current topographic position.

NASA also have an image comparison which highlights the change in the glacier from 09 May to 01 June.

Credit: NASA Earth Observatory


28 April 2014 - Ice in the Sea of Okhotsk

Patterns of sea ice in the Sea of Okhotsk, off the eastern coast of Russia can be see in this image from the International Space Station.

In this photo, we see nearly 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) of the East Sakhalin Current, which is carrying winter ice south toward Japan's Hokkaido Island. The current is marked by the narrow corridor of dense ice that hugs the coast of Russia's Sakhalin Island. As it approaches Hokkaido, the ice patterns show a series of eddies and swirls.

Credit: NASA Earth Observatory


04 March 2014 - Southern Patagonia Ice Field - South America

This grand panorama of the Southern Patagonia Ice Field was photographed by a crew member aboard the International Space Station (ISS) on a rare clear day in the southern Andes Mountains on 13 February 2014. With an area of 13,000 square kilometres (5,000 square miles), the ice field is the largest temperate ice sheet in the Southern Hemisphere. Storms that swirl into the region from the southern Pacific Ocean bring rain and snow (between 2 to 11 metres of rainfall per year), resulting in the buildup of the ice sheet.

Credit: NASA Earth Observatory


14 January 2014 - Lake Sharpe, South Dakota - United States of America

This astronaut photograph from the International Space Station shows Lake Sharpe, an approximately 130 kilometre (80 mile) long reservoir formed behind the Big Bend Dam on the Missouri River near Lower Brule, South Dakota. The lake surface is frozen and covered with snow, presenting a uniform white appearance.

Credit: NASA Earth Observatory


08 January 2014 - United States of America

The first winter storm of 2014 swept across the northeastern United States on 01-03 January, bringing as much as 24 inches (61 centimetres) of snow to the hardest hit areas. The centre of the storm was over the North Atlantic Ocean when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Terra satellite acquired this image at 10:55 a.m. Eastern Time on 03 January.

Credit: NASA Earth Observatory


26 March 2013 - Onega District, Russia

This image of the Onega District of Arkhangelsk Region in Russia was acquired on 18 February by the SPOT 5 satellite.

Credit: Spot Image, ScanEx RDC 2013


21 March 2013 - Skagerrak Strait

Another Envisat image, acquired 31 January 2012, shows the Skagerrak Strait, which divides Norway and Denmark in this image. Clouds cover the North Sea and sweep down to the strait between Denmark (lower-right corner) and Norway (upper-centre) in this view.

Credit: European Space Agency (ESA)


15 March 2013 - Novaya Zemlya archipelago

This Envisat image from 19 March 2012 shows the elongated islands of the Novaya Zemlya archipelago, the mainland of northwestern Russia and an ice-covered Kara Sea. The Barents Sea is off the islands' west coast. Located completely within the Arctic Circle, Novaya Zemlya is an extension of the Ural Mountains. Average temperatures range from about -22oC in January to just over 6oC in July.

Credit: European Space Agency (ESA)


01 February 2013 - Kangerdlugssuaq glacier, Greenland

The Kangerdlugssuaq glacier and its ice stream are pictured in this Landsat-7 image. It is the largest outlet glacier on Greenland's east coast, discharging ice into the surrounding oceans. In this image we can see hundreds of icebergs speckling the water. Greenland is home to one of only two ice sheets on Earth - the other in Antarctica - and is the world's largest island.

Credit: United States Geological Survey (USGS), European Space Agency (ESA)


11 January 2013 - The French Alps

This MetOp-B AVHRR image, acquired 05 January 2013, shows the snow-covered Alps and Pyrenees and low clouds (stratus) over large parts of France, some mountain wave formations and high-level contrails.

Credit: EUMETSAT 2013


08 January 2013 - Winter in southern Greenland

As the year 2012 drew to a close, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Aqua satellite captured this scene of sea ice, land ice, and fresh snow in southern Greenland. It is a fairly typical wintertime scene, but one that illustrates both seasonal and thousand-year changes.

Credit: NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE MODIS Rapid Response


04 January 2013 - Altai Territory, Russia

This UK-DMC2 image shows the Altai Territory of Russia under a blanket of snow, acquired on 19 December 2012.

Credit: DMCii, ScanEx RDC 2012


03 January 2013 - North central Siberia

North central Siberia is pictured in this Envisat image from 5 March 2012. An enormous area in north Asia, Siberia spreads from the Urals in the west to the Okhotsk Sea in the east, from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the borders of Kazakhstan, Mongolia and China in the south.

The majority of the area pictured lies above the Arctic Circle. This is also an area of continuous permafrost, where the soil is at or below freezing throughout the year.

Credit: European Space Agency (ESA)


24 December 2012 - Petermann Glacier, Greenland

This image acquired by the UK-DMC2 satellite in July 2012, shows a Manhattan-sized iceberg breaking away from the Petermann Glacier in a so-called 'calving' event. Satellites also tracked another large iceberg break free of the glacier in 2010, but it is not yet clear what the specific cause for this degradation is.

Credit: UK-DMC2 image © DMCii, 2012. All rights reserved.


21 December 2012 - Kazan City, Russia

This SPOT-5 image, acquired on 12 December 2012, shows Kazan City in Russia. The Kazanka River, which divides the city can be seen in the left portion of this image, frozen over in the icy conditions.

Credit: Spot Image, ScanEx RDC 2012


19 December 2012 - Agricultural fields under snow, China

This astronaut photograph, taken on 18 November 2012, highlights hundreds of rectangular fields on either side of a 36-kilometre (22-mile) stretch of the Songhua River, in China. Some fields are easier to see than others due to the winter snow cover.

Credit: NASA Earth Observatory


13 December 2012 - Frozen Aral Sea

This view from the UK-DMC2 satellite shows a portion of landfast-ice in the Aral Sea between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.

Landfast ice is sea ice that forms along coasts and becomes attached to them.

Credit: UK-DMC2 image © DMCii, 2012. All rights reserved