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Landsat 8 Tracks the Velocity of Glaciers and Ice Sheets in Near Real-Time

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Sheridan Glacier, Alaska
Sheridan Glacier, Alaska

Glacier movement is not always easy to predict. However, new remote sensing capabilities are making it easier to map the speed and movement patterns of flowing ice in Greenland, Antarctica, and global mountain ranges.

Scientists from the NASA-funded Global Land Ice Velocity Extraction project (GoLIVE) are using remote sensing data collected by Landsat 8 to view every large glacier and ice sheet on Earth in near real-time. By integrating atmospheric and oceanic information, researchers can better understand what causes these ice sheets to change.

Landsat 8 collects over 700 images a day and covers Earth's entire surface every 16 days. This volume of data helps researchers to generate these global maps and will be invaluable for global ice monitoring in the future. With the help of Landsat 9, scheduled for launch in 2020, this initiative will continue for years to come.

Related Links:

NASA website

NASA Landsat website



Landsat represents the world's longest continuously acquired collection of space-based moderate-resolution land remote sensing data. Four decades of imagery provides a unique resource for those who work in agriculture, geology, forestry, regional planning, education, mapping, and global change research. Landsat images are also invaluable for emergency response and disaster relief.


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