Still fragile and shaped by the river currents, a thin layer of new ice formed over Québec, Canada’s, St. Lawrence River in mid-January 2010. This image, taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite on January 17, shows the mouth of the river.
The water ranges from black to a rich blue-green tone, its color intensified by the contrast between it and the winter white landscape around it. The green tones of the river are visible beneath the thin ice, which is semi-transparent. Thicker ice (solid white) is evident along the south shore. The bright white line on the north shore of the river is probably land cleared for power lines.
The highest resolution version of the image (250 meters per pixel) is provided above. The image is available in additional resolutions from the MODIS Rapid Response Team.
Russia’s Ob River flows from south to north, and each summer, it thaws in the same direction. The result is that an ice jam sits downstream from thawed portions of the river, which is laden with heavy runoff from melted snow.
In the span of three weeks, spring crept over the Siberian landscape surrounding the northern half of the Lena River. Many of the rivers in Earth’s temperate zones run high in the spring when melting snow and spring rain flood river basins. On the Lena River, however, spring flooding is almost inevitable for another reason: ice. Like other north-flowing rivers, the upper reaches of the Lena melt before their downstream counterparts. Because the northern mouth of the river remains frozen while the southern body of the river flows freely, water naturally builds behind the ice, forming a temporary reservoir that drains as the ice dwindles.