May 7, 2013 - Northeast Russia

Northeast Russia

Springtime in Siberia is a time of dramatic change, a time when the winterís all-encompassing ice and snow give way to briskly growing vegetation spurred by rising temperatures and lengthening sunlight. On May 4, 2013, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASAís Aqua satellite passed over Eastern Russia and captured this true-color image of a sunny spring day across the region.

While ice and snow grips most of the county, and sea-ice remains fast against the coastal waters of the Sea of Okhotsk, the land is beginning to peek through in several areas, primarily in valleys. In the west, the agricultural fields of the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic are beginning to green, although the large Lena River (west and north) and its tributary, the Aldan River (east) are still highly reflective, indicating the presence of ice.

Where snow has withdrawn, red hotspots appear, many of which are accompanied by trails of smoke plumes. Although it is impossible to tell if these are wildfires or more controlled burns, fires in this region in early spring are often agricultural in origin and are deliberately set by farmers to clear fields, prepare soil for planting, and to renew pasturelands.

Image Facts
Satellite: Aqua
Date Acquired: 5/4/2013
Resolutions: 1km ( B), 500m ( B), 250m ( B)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC