On March 25, 2014 the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite flew over the Scandinavian Peninsula and captured a striking true-color image of an early spring day.
Heavy snows cover the Scandinavian Mountain chain. These mountains begin at the tip of the Scandinavian Peninsula and curve northward, reaching the Arctic Circle. Also known as the Scandes, the ridges form the border between Norway, to the west, and Sweden in the east. Where the mountains curve, the mountains also form the border between Norway and Finland.
To the west, the slopes drop precipitously, forming deep cuts that end in the Norwegian Sea. These dramatic drops often give way to fjords – a deep, narrow and long waterway with steep land on three sides. Formed by glacial eroding, fjords are identified as being longer than they are wide. When an inlet is wider than it is long, it is a bay or cove.
To the east of the mountains the land falls more gently toward the Baltic Sea. Green vegetation can be seen in southern Sweden and southern Finland. In the northern reach of the Baltic Sea, know as the Gulf of Bothnia, bright white fast ice clings to the shores of Finland and Sweden. Further out in the Gulf, the ice has begun to melt, and is pulling away from the Swedish shores.