Earth from space: Glacier Bay, Alaska

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17/06/2022
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Part of the Glacier Bay National Park and Reserve, located off the coast of southeast Alaska, is shown in this image taken by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission.

Click on the image below to view it in full resolution of 10 m.

Covering over 13,000 square kilometers of rocky, snow-capped mountains, freshwater lakes, glaciers and deep fjords, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve is one of the highlights of Alaska’s inner pass. As seawater makes up almost a fifth of the park, Glacier Bay is rich in marine life, including humpback whales, killer whales and sea otters. It is also home to a large population of bears, moose, wolves and mountain goats.

The bay contains some of the most impressive glaciers in the world, which descend from the ice-covered St. The Elias Range to the east and the Fairwader Range to the west, with several remarkable tidal glaciers stretching all the way to the sea.

The John Hopkins Glacier, seen on the left of the image, is the largest tidal glacier in the region. The Muir Glacier, formerly the most famous of the tidal glaciers, once rose about 80 meters above the water and was almost 3 km wide, but has now shrunk and receded and no longer reaches the sea.

Glacier Bay is just one of many areas suffering from the effects of global warming. The bay is expected to become warmer and drier in the next century, with widespread consequences, including further shrinking glaciers, reduced sea ice and coastal erosion.

Observing glaciers is often a challenge, given their size, remoteness and rugged terrain. Satellites, including The mission of ESA CryoSat, with its elite space sensor – the radar altimeter – allows mapping of glaciers with fine detail. In a study published last year in Cryospherescientists data used from the CryoSat mission to show how much ice has been lost by mountain glaciers in the Gulf of Alaska.

Today opens the exhibition “Memory of the Earth – Glaciers witnessing the climate crisis”, which traces the scientific and photographic journey of glaciers around the world, with the premiere of the results of the project “In the footsteps of glaciers”, directed by Italian photographer Fabiano Ventura. The exhibition, which takes place at the Forte di Bard Museum, Aosta Valley, Italy, offers visitors the opportunity to observe the effects of global warming through the power of both photography and ESA’s satellite imagery.

The exhibition focuses on the world’s largest mountain glaciers with 90 photographic comparisons, along with scientific data collected during a foreign expedition to the world’s largest mountain glaciers. It runs until November 18, 2022 and includes images like the one presented in the Earth from Space program this week. More information about the exhibition, which is part of a scientific collaboration between ESA and sponsored by UNESCO, can be found TIMES.

This image is also presented in the video program Earth from Space.

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