In only a week the ice covering Lake Balkhash, in eastern Kazakhstan, melted over almost all of the lake’s 18,000 square kilometer surface area. On April 11 large cracks were visible in the ice on the western half of the lake, and the water near river deltas was ice-free. By the 18th, most of the ice was gone, with remnants primarily in the western half. Sediment, carried by spring runoff, causes the turbulent appearance and tan color of the ice-free lake. These images were acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites. By mid-April 2000, the lake was completely ice free, as shown by an image from the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS).
Image courtesy Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC