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
A look at how acidifying oceans could threaten the Dungeness crab, one of the most valuable fisheries on the U.S. West Coast. Watch the video.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
An aerial view of why Europe’s per capita carbon emissions are less than 50 percent of those in the U.S. View the photos.
An indigenous tribe’s deadly fight to save its ancestral land in the Amazon rainforest from logging. Learn more.
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.
Residents of the Chocó Rainforest in Ecuador are choosing to plant cacao over logging in an effort to slow deforestation.
Watch the video.
Tribal people and ranchers join together to stop a project that would haul coal across their Montana land. Watch the video.