Antarctica 09/08/03

MODIS image of Antarctica

MODIS true color image of Antarctica on the 8th of September 2003.

Huge icebergs are stuck in sea ice on the Southern Ocean near Antarctica's Mawson Peninsula (upper left) in this true-color Terra MODIS image. These icebergs, collectively referred to as the C-19 icebergs, originally broke off from the Ross Ice Shelf over 1000 miles away, and floated here to be trapped when temperatures fell and sea ice accumulated.

At the 1-km resolution (above), distinguishing the icebergs from the sea ice and land is somewhat difficult, since everything is white except for the ocean and cloud shadows. But at the higher resolutions the differences are clearer as more details become visible.

In the 500-m image, the icebergs are much more prominent, as they are the largest chunks of ice and appear uniformly white and smooth. In comparison, the snow-covered land (bottom left quadrant) shows much more texture, while clouds are bright-white and translucent.

In the 250-m image, the differences are even more pronounced. Shadows from the differences in height between the icebergs and sea ice are visible, and the spidery cracks throughout the sea ice are much more clear, as are individual clouds.

Image and text courtesy of NASA's MODIS Land Rapid Response Team.