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Snow cover and ice extent are monitored by satellite instruments measuring the reflectance of Earth's surface in various wavelengths every day. Snow and ice have a recognizable pattern of reflectance, so the satellite data can be processed to show where snow and ice are present.
The Earth's system is characterized by the interaction of processes that take place on molecular (very small) and planetary (very large) spatial scales, as well as on short and long time scales.
The advance-and-retreat cycle of snow cover drastically changes the whiteness and brightness of Earth. Using these two 2017 maps created using NASA satellite data, have students review the seasonal differences of snow and ice extent.
The Earth's system exemplifies stability and change. Change and rates of change can be observed and quantified over very short or long periods of time and at various spatial scales (e.g., from landscape level to global processes).
Explore the spatial patterns observed in meteorological data and learn how this information is used to predict weather and understand climate behavior. By observing patterns in data we can classify our observations and investigate underlying cause and effect relationships.
Visualize NASA data on a custom map using our Earth System Data Explorer. Generate your own maps and graphs using a range of datasets supporting this phenomenon.
Recent Topics at NASA
This month, EO Kids is covering a “cool” topic
A new NASA study explains why the Tracy and Heilprin glaciers, which flow side by side into Inglefield Gulf in northwest Greenland, are melting at radically different rates.