The Siberian tundra was thawing out on June 25, 2002, and this pair of true- and false-color image from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) shows the standing water that is pooling up on the landscape. Perhaps because of the tundra’s permafrost (a permanently frozen layer of soil many meters deep), melting snow and ice is pooling up in bogs, ponds, and wetlands. In the false-color image, vegetation is bright green, and pooled water is dark blue or almost black, and is prominent in the upper left quadrant of the image in the Kolymskaya Wetlands.
Also visible in the false-color image are deep red areas that show bare, exposed soil. In some cases, such as at the image’s upper right, this is where spring has yet to arrive in high-altitude terrain. In other cases, such as along the banks of the Ozhogina River at lower left, this is more likely a burn scar from a previous fire.