Earth  ID: 11779

Landsat 8 Crosses the Arctic

On June 21, 2014—the summer solstice—when the Sun stays above the horizon of the Arctic for at least 24 hours, Landsat 8 acquired this unbroken swath of images. While much of the region is still frozen in June, the ice is in various stages of melting.

The Landsat 8 swath begins in Sweden and Finland, then crosses the Greenland Sea and northern Greenland. The scenes then take us over North America, through Canada’s Nunavut and Northwest Territories, before ending up offshore of British Columbia. In its entirety, the flyover is composed of 52 individual Landsat scenes and covers an area about 6,800 kilometers long and 200 kilometers wide (4,200 by 120 miles).

“These Landsat swaths provide stunning views of transitions across the most remote and infrequently visited areas of our planet,” said Jim Irons, NASA’s project scientist for Landsat 8.

The full swaths offer a unique perspective by showing Earth as the satellite “sees” it on its orbital path. And like the view from a cross-country flight on an airplane, there are often clouds blocking the view of the ground.

“When you add the multi-temporal and historic nature of the Landsat data archive into consideration,” Irons said, “the views become vital in observing seasonal and interannual changes to a region that is most sensitive to climate change.”

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LDCM: Landsat Data Continuity Mission

This item is part of these series:
Arctic Ice
Narrated Movies

Goddard TV Tape:
G2015-015 -- Arctic Long Swath

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SVS >> Polar Ice
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