Meltwater Ponds Along Greenland's West Coast
The MODIS on the Terra satellite acquired this image of the west coast of Greenland on June 26, 2006, which shows the melt zone along the edge of the Greenland ice sheet. Small circular melt ponds dot the fringes of the melt zone. The false color emphasizes the small melt ponds. They appear as dark spots in the western edge of the bright aqua blue. If you move your mouse over the image, you will see a true color image - unlike the brilliant, uniform white of the ice farther inland, the melt zone is gray where it is becoming saturated with water. The melt ponds are easiest to see on the 250m image. You can also view another image on Earth Observatory, which has them labeled.
Glaciologists estimate that the melting of the Greenland ice sheet typically reaches its peak around July 20 each year. This ice sheet is dynamic, however, and different conditions can lead to different behavior. For this reason, scientists continue to monitor melt patterns in the ice sheet, including timing and extent, to see whether they are changing over time.