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North Slope of Alaska
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North Slope of Alaska

July 21, 2007

Summertime is green across Northern Alaska in this true color image acquired by the MODIS on the Terra satellite on July 6, 2007. Prominent in the image is the Brooks Range, which stretches all the way across Northern Alaska from the western shore to the border of Canada's Yukon Territory, a distance of about 600 miles. The western third of the Range is home to the Noatak National Preserve, and to the east of that is the Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve. The body of water to the north of Alaska is the Beaufort Sea, which is covered with ice, which even clings to the shore.

If you move your mouse over the image, you'll see a false-color image. With false color, it is easier to see that even this late in the summer, the higher elevations of the Brooks Range (bottom right corner) are apparently still bare of vegetation, the reddish-brown color standing out sharply against the bright green vegetation. Also prominent are the pools of water standing along the shores of the North Slope.

The pools, which appear dark blue against the green vegetation, result because summer meltwater can only soak into the ground so far because much of the ground remains frozen, even during summer. The ice contrasts with the terrain as well, appearing bright blue. It is easy to pick out small pockets of frozen water amongst these pools along the shores.



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