17 May 2012:
Retreat of Columbia Glacier
Vividly Captured in NASA Satellite Images
Two false-color thermal images taken by NASA satellites depict the rapid retreat of the Columbia Glacier in Alaska
over the past 25 years. Since 1986, the glacier’s end-point, or terminus, has retreated 12 miles up an inlet in Prince William Sound, and the glacier also has lost about half its total thickness and volume. The top image, taken by a Landsat 5 satellite in 1986, shows two branches of the glacier joining together just north of Heather Island. By 2011, the terminus had retreated far up the inlet, and is identifiable in the bottom image. The blue in the water below the 2011 terminus is floating ice that has calved off the leading edge of the Columbia Glacier, which descends from a 10,000-foot ice field in the Chugach Mountains. By 2011, the two branches of the glacier had become separated. The turquoise color in the images is snow, and it is more prevalent in 2011 because that image was taken in May, whereas the top image was shot in July.
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
Yale Environment 360
articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia
, the online educational network. Visit the site.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
Tribal people and ranchers join together to stop a project that would haul coal across their Montana land. Watch the video.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
The 2015 Yale e360 Video Contest winner documents a Northeastern town's bitter battle over a wind farm. Watch the video.
A 2015 Yale e360 Video Contest winner captures stunning images of wild salmon runs in Alaska. Watch the video.
video series looks at the staggering amount of food wasted in the U.S. – a problem with major human and environmental costs. Watch the video.
video goes onto the front lines with Colorado firefighters confronting deadly blazes fueled by a hotter, drier climate. Watch the video.
A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.