Bylot Island in Winter and Summer

In wintertime, snow and ice blanket the Bylot island in white, but in summertime, Bylot’s glaciers contrast with its earth-toned land cover. NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE MODIS Rapid Response. Caption by Michon Scott.

Part of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, Bylot Island is a 11,000-square-kilometer (4,200-square-mile) island within Canada’s Sirmilik National Park.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite observed Bylot Island on March 9, 2012 (top), and July 22, 2012 (bottom).

The mountains on Bylot are part of the Arctic Cordillera that stretches from Baffin Island to Ellesmere Island. The mountains cast longer shadows in the winter, thanks to the low angle of the Sun. That play of sunlight and mountains also illuminates (or leaves in shadow) glacier fronts in Bylot’s valleys. But the glaciers are much easier to spot in the summertime, stretching north or south from the mountainous spine.

Bylot Island in Winter and SummerImage credit: wikipedia

Bylot Island has had a long acquaintance with glaciers. The Laurentide Ice Sheet once scoured the island, but it began to retreat sometime between 8,000 and 6,000 years ago. Multiple glaciers remained in the ice sheet’s wake, but they have continued changing. Photographs of the glaciers taken between the 1940s and the 2000s indicate that many are rapidly retreating.

Bylot Island world map

source earthobservatory