This Envisat image from 19 March 2012 shows the elongated islands of the Novaya Zemlya archipelago on the left, the mainland of northwestern Russia to the right and an ice-covered Kara Sea in the centre. The Barents Sea is off the islands’ west coast. Located completely within the Arctic Circle, Novaya Zemlya is an extension of the Ural Mountains.
The Arctic’s hard environment makes it difficult to explore. Today, satellites can provide a breadth of information on polar regions such as sea-ice extent, and can facilitate navigation and communications.
This image is featured on the Earth from Space video programme.