March 18, 2004
For three quarters of the year Alaska sleeps under the cover of snow and ice, from the Point Barrow in the north to the Panhandle region in the southeast, the Canadian Yukon Territory border in the east to the Seward Peninsula in the northwest. At almost 1/5th the size of the rest of the United States, that means that snow and ice cover over 1.7 million square kilometers (almost 657 million sq mi) of land. In this true-color Aqua MODIS image from March 8, 2004, winter is slowly releasing its grasp, though the advent of the short, but intense, Alaskan summer is still three months away. During that time, plants must awaken, grow, and reproduce sufficiently to last them through another cold season. Animals either come out of hibernation or migrate north as the snow line recedes, and they too must reproduce and grow sufficiently to survive in this brief span of time.
Topics: Exclaves, Alaska, Arctic Ocean, Environment, West Coast of the United States, Aqua, United States