Great Lakes river map

Mapping great rivers

Scientists are swapping topographic maps for satellite images as part of a new NASA mission to create the first global inventory of the Earth’s surface waters. It could mean they contribute more to global warming than previously thought.

Animated satellite data shows record-setting Great Lakes ice

The longest period of ice cover in the Great Lakes officially ended on June 6 — much to the relief of everyone who suffered post-traumatic stress from last year’s harsh winter. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA] recently released a year’s worth of Great Lakes surface temperatures. The animation at right shows ice cover and temperature for one day each month of the year. The one below shows the same information for every day of the year. In the 40 years of collecting data there hasn’t been ice cover that has lasted this long, said Anne Clites, physical scientist for the NOAA.

Photo Friday: Satellite view of ice melting on Lake Baikal

Russia’s Lake Baikal is the deepest lake in the world and holds more freshwater than all of the North American Great Lakes. This shot featured on NASA’s Earth Observatory was taken from the International Space Station on April 22. Much of the lake is covered with ice. The brightest point reflects the sun from where the ice has begun to melt, according to NASA.