Spy photos of Arctic ice

Woman pouring water at Raw Sugar

A number of sources are reporting that the Obama administration has made public spy photos that show the effects of climate change in the Arctic. The photos have a one metre resolution, and were provided through a program called Medea which allows scientists to request intelligence images of environmentally sensitive areas.

With luck, the photos will allow climate models to be further refined: for instance, by better incorporating the positive feedback associated with changed albedo when white ice melts and is replaced by darker water. Other scientific information that could be derived from the photos includes: “the relationship of snow to ice-surface topography, the initiation and development of meltwater ponds in summer, and the relationship of stress and strain and how they are reflected in the pattern of cracks and other features in the ice.” Thorsten Markus – at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre – has said that the key value of the new images lies in their high resolution, compared to those that were previously available.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

2 thoughts on “Spy photos of Arctic ice”

  1. 28 July 09

    Bush White House was Willfully Blind to Arctic Ice Melt

    During the eight years the Bush Administration denied that climate change was a problem, they were concealing spy satellite images showing the frightening loss of summer artic sea ice.

    The de-classified images were released last week by the Obama Whitehouse in an effort to build support for the beleaguered Waxman Markey bill now moving through the Senate.

    The satellite pictures clearly show how rapidly the arctic is vanishing due to climate change. In years such as 2007, more than one million square kilometers of summer ice disappeared and has never recovered.

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