Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC
In some places along Alaska’s coastline (right), a thin lip of winter ice is still clinging to the shoreline, but the Bering Strait, which separates Alaska.s Seward Peninsula from Siberia (left) is finally free of its winter blockage of sea ice. South of the Bering Strait, St. Lawrence Island, blanketed with snow all winter, is gradually becoming uncovered. This image was acquired by MODIS on June 3, 2002. To the east of the island, the broad delta of the Yukon River is obscured by clouds, but evidence of the spring run-off is visible: brownish sediment is swirling in the waters of Norton Sound. The seasonal ice in the Yukon began to break up in the interior portions of Alaska around May 8, 2002. To the north, the Chukchi Sea Ice is retreating north, opening a large area of water near Alaska.s North Slope. North of the Brooks Range, whose peaks are still holding snow (right of center), the tundra is losing its snow cover, and numerous small rivers are braiding the brownish landscape. The whole of the territory of the North Slope is about the size of the state of Minnesota.
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