Earth from Space: Icy waters

28 October 2011

This Envisat image shows part of Greenland’s west coast – home to one of the fastest and most active glaciers in the world, Sermeq Kujalleq.

At the centre of the image the glacier’s sea mouth is visible: the Ilulissat fjord. A fjord is a narrow inlet carved by glacial activity.

A UNESCO World Heritage since 2004, Ilulissat awes tourists who come to see and hear the sounds of the fast-moving glacial ice-stream calving into the iceberg-ridden fjord.

In this image, we can see the icebergs bursting out from the fjord and speckling the surrounding waters.

The calving icebergs bring up nutrient-rich water that attracts great numbers of feeding fish, seals and whales.

Scientists have studied Ilulissat for over 200 years, and it has helped develop our understanding of climate change and ice-cap glaciology.

This image was acquired on 21 July 2011 by Envisat’s Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer in full resolution mode.

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