“MODIS Daily Global Snow Cover and Sea Ice Surface Temperature” by GST – NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

  • ©Dorothy Hall  GST – NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center


SIGGRAPH Video Review:




    MODIS Daily Global Snow Cover and Sea Ice Surface Temperature




Company / Institution / Agency:

  • GST – NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center


    This animation of the Northern Hemisphere portrays data collected via daily MODIS satellite images acquired during the winter of 2002-2003. A circle of darkness increases with the onset of autumn, reaching a maximum at the winter solstice on December 21st. Thereafter, darkness shrinks as the period of daylight increases.

    Daily changes in sea ice are shown as ice-surface temperature. Sea-ice surface temperatures range from about -40 to -2 degrees Celsius. Here, ice-surface temperatures are depicted by colors, with temperatures near freezing shown in shades of pink. Colder ice is shown in purple shades, while the coldest ice is shown in shades of blue/grey.

    The snow tracks of several winter storms across the United States can be clearly seen. Snow from such storms may melt quickly or linger for weeks. With an albedo of up to 80% or more, snow-covered terrain reflects most of the incoming solar radiation back into space, cooling the lower atmosphere. When snow cover melts, the albedo drops suddenly to less than about 30%, allowing the ground to absorb more solar radiation, which heats the Earth’s sur-face and lower atmosphere. Rapid changes in albedo, resulting from snowfall and snowmelt, cause significant changes in the regional energy balance.


    Linux and Mac OSX-based hardware systems


    Renderman, Maya, Photoshop, and IDL. Edited with Adobe After Effects

Additional Contributors:

    Director: Dorothy Hall, NASA

    Producer: Horace Mitchell, NASA


    Written by: Dorothy Hall – NASA, George Riggs – Science Systems & Applications, Inc., Cynthia Starr – Global Science & Technology

    Science Advisors: Dorothy Hall – NASA, George Riggs – Science Systems & Applications, Inc.

    Lead Animator: Cynthia Starr, Global Science & Technology

    Contributors: Randall Jones – Global Science & Technology, Alex Kekesi – Global Science & Technology, Kevin Mahoney – Computer Sciences Corporation

    Marte Newcombe – Global Science & Technology, Lori Perkins – NASA, Greg Shirah – NASA, Stuart Snodgrass – Global Science & Technology, Eric Sokolowsky – Global Science & Technology, James W. Williams – Global Science & Technology

    Music: Robert Hitz – Zederwalt Music

    Narration: Michael Starobin – Honeywell Technology Solutions

    Audio Recording: Fred Kemman – Honeywell Technology Solutions

    Audio Mixing: Mike Velle – Honeywell Technology Solutions

    MODIS data courtesy of the MODIS Science Team NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

    Blue Marble MODIS data composite courtesy of the MODIS Science Team and the NASA Earth Observatory Reto Stockli Science Systems & Applications, Inc.

    SeaWiFS data courtesy of the SeaWiFS Project and ORBIMAGE

Animation / Video Overview: