A Glacier Recedes
In Alaska’s Kenai Fjords National Park, just outside of the town of Seward, the Exit Glacier is shrinking.
From the ground we can see evidence of the retreat over just one year. Emily Baker of the National Park Service documented the glacier in the calving process. Take a look at these images captured in August 2016, just fifteen days apart:
From the ground we see chunks of ice that have calved, and an increase in glacial runoff and melt. The changes are even more striking if we lengthen our time axis, and observe the glacier from above.
Planet’s RapidEye satellites have been observing Exit Glacier for years.
From orbit, we can observe that the glacier has not only receded, but thinned along the edges as well.
Planet’s satellites collect imagery in a consistent, sun-synchronous orbit, creating a calibrated dataset from which the human eye or computer algorithms can spot the isolated incidents of day-to-day change, or track subtle, long-term trends.
As more of our satellites enter orbit, Planet is closer to being able to image the Earth’s entire land surface, every day. This will help to extend the long-term records of glaciers developed from existing satellites, and enable new types of near-real time monitoring and research into the dynamics of moving ice.
If you’re a researcher and would like access to Planet’s growing imagery dataset, visit planet.com/impact.