Thursday, November 8, 2012

Glacier images - September 2012

A visual update on the status of Kibo's glaciers is provided in this gallery of recent images. Although mass balance was slightly positive on most horizontal surfaces last year, their steep margins continue retreating.

Two additional GigaPans are also now posted. One provides a perspective on the Kersten Glacier upper margin, which is the view climbers to Uhuru Peak are most familiar with. The other is a wide-angle view of the Reusch Crater. These compliment 2012 GigaPans of the Furtwängler Glacier and Northern Ice Field.

In conjunction with these glacier images, have a look at a valuable new satellite image of the mountain. This was acquired by the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on the EO-1 mission, just 4 weeks after our fieldwork, at the request of NASA collaborator Kimberly Casey. The timing of this acquisition is quite fortuitous, showing less seasonal snow present than during our fieldwork, yet prior to an early-November snowfall event as the Short Rains got underway.

Previous Earth Observatory stories illustrate patterns of decreasing ice extent, and this latest image reveals that the most dramatic changes are occurring on the south side. Compare, for example, this new image with the 2004 ISS image provided by EO here. Although the Northern Ice Field split has been underway since the 1980s, fragmentation of the Southern Ice Field has been most pronounced in the past year or two. Thanks to Kimberly for arranging acquisition of this latest satellite image!

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