Earth Matters

Icy Landscapes Near Svalbard

May 29th, 2017 by Kathryn Hansen

In May 2017, NASA’s Operation IceBridge concluded its annual survey of Arctic ice. After 10 weeks, 39 research flights, and hundreds of terabytes of data collected, scientists have more information than ever to help them understand changes to the region’s sea- and land ice.

Notable this year were measurements of a crack growing across the ice shelf of Petermann Glacier. Also, the mission flew for the first time over the Eurasian half of the Arctic Basin.

The research flight on April 3 explored glaciers in Greenland, before transiting to Longyearbyen, Norway, which would become the base of operations for the week. These images, snapped by NASA’s Jeremy Harbeck, show some of the highlights from that flight, featuring plenty of interesting glaciers, landforms, and even some wildlife.

An iceberg near the calving front of Zachariah Glacier. Photo by Jeremy Harbeck.


A sinuous meltwater channel on 79 North Glacier. Photo by Jeremy Harbeck.


A snowy, frozen landscape just north of 79 N Glacier. Photo by Jeremy Harbeck.


Musk ox from the P-3, between Zachariae and 79 N glaciers. Photo by Jeremy Harbeck.

On April 6, researchers flew from Svalbard and surveyed sea ice atop the eastern Arctic Ocean. Below are a few of Harbeck’s favorite photographs from that flight, highlighting the variability of sea ice.

Some very interesting nilas and grease ice patterns. Photo by Jeremy Harbeck.


The low sun angle highlights the moisture going into the atmosphere from this lead. Photo by Jeremy Harbeck.


Some finger-rafted nilas along with some thicker snow-covered ice. Photo by Jeremy Harbeck.


A seal on the sea ice, just northeast of Svalbard. Photo by Jeremy Harbeck.

6 Responses to “Icy Landscapes Near Svalbard”

  1. Susan Anderson says:

    Anyone wishing for definitions of ice formation words, here:

  2. Charles Spencer says:

    These pictures are very impressive

  3. Ramesh Dutt says:

    Amazing pictures a little more clarity will be excellent viewing

  4. larry male says:

    the pictures are cool but what me and other people are wondering about is if are world is flat and is Nasa lying?

  5. larry male says:

    I mean when you look at the pictures you don’t see a curve you see its all just strate and if the world did curve we would curve people don’t know if the world is flat or not they dont know if the world is sphere or not becease they learn all of this from books, tv shows, and movies, and the what do you think about this.