MODIS bands 1,4,3 RGB true color image of Antarctica on the 26th of September 2001.
Antarctica is emerging from its long winter, and sea ice still fills the Southern Ocean around the continent. In this true-color MODIS image from September 26, 2001, sea ice (top) is still packed against the Princess Astrid coast (bottom). The cracks in the sea ice do not necessarily indicate that the spring thaw has begun. Even in winter, ocean swells and wind break up the ice into large pieces called pack-ice that wind and currents shift around.
Between the continent and the sea ice lies the Fimbull Ice Shelf , which extends out from the continent into the ocean. The true coastline is not where the ice meets the solid white expanse of the shelf, but even farther down in the image, where the smooth, white surface of the shelf takes on a rippled appearance. In the high-resolution image, the Muhlig-Hofmann (left) and the Wohlthat Mountains (right) rise up to 2000m (6562 ft) and cast a blue shadow against a white backdrop. In several places, transparent clouds give a purplish tint to the snow and ice below, for example in the upper left corner.
Text courtesy of NASA's MODIS instrument website.
Image courtesy of Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center