Monitoring the Earth's Polar Glaciers and Ice Shelves


RISCO uses a wide range of satellite data to monitor the fast-changing portions of the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets, as well as the tidewater glaciers of Alaska and other regions. RISCO aids researchers by organizing and distributing "eye-in-the-sky" data in as near real time as possible. With daily updates of new imagery, and decades of historical data, we can gain new insights into how our planet is changing.

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Monitoring the Earth's Polar Glaciers and Ice Shelves

Pine Island Glacier Finally Calves

On November 10th, a 250 sq mile iceberg, or 7.5 times the size of Manahattan, calved off the Pine Island Glacier in Antarctica. A rift had opened in the glacier over 2 years ago, but the iceberg stubbornley hung on, like a broken finger nail, until now. Large calving events like this happen every 4-5 years at Pine Island Glacier (the last was 2007), but this iceberg is the largest, and broke off farther inland, than ever observed.

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Pine Island Glacier Finally Calves


The Rapid Ice Sheet Change Observatory (RISCO) is an inter-organizational collaboration created to provide a systematic framework for gathering, processing, analyzing, and distributing consistent satellite imagery of polar ice sheet dynamics. Prior to the formulation of RISCO, the observation of polar ice sheet dynamics was severely limited by both a lack of satellite coverage and a lack of access to consistent timely imagery.


Imagery from the...

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