Rivers that empty into large bodies of water can have a significant
impact on the thawing of nearshore winter ice. This true-color Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS)
image from May 18, 2001, shows the Nelson River emptying spring runoff
from the Manitoba province to the south into the southwestern corner of
Canada's Hudson Bay. The warmer waters from more southern latitudes
hasten melting of ice near the shore, though some still remained,
perhaps because in shallow coastal waters, the ice could have been
anchored to the bottom.
High volumes of sediment in the runoff turned the inflow brown, and
the rim of the retreating ice has taken on a dirty appearance even far
to the east of the river's entrance into the Bay. The sediment would
have further hastened the melting of the ice because its darker color
would have absorbed more solar radiation than cleaner, whiter ice.
Image courtesy Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC