The Kangerlussuaq Glacier is the largest glacier on the southeast coast of Greenland and flows into the fjord of the same name. The glacier front, which in the past was protected by an ice mélange – a mixture of sea ice and calved icebergs – is retreating at an increasing rate. The glacier calves approximately 24 cubic kilometres of ice into the ocean every year. This corresponds to about five percent of the amount of ice lost annually by the entire Greenland ice sheet. Using a time series of 150 TanDEM-X elevation models of the Kangerlugssuaq Glacier, scientists from Swansea University in the United Kingdom have measured the decrease in the glacier’s surface height.
A precise understanding of glacier evolution requires knowledge of a glacier's exact mass. This is important in South America, in the tropical regions between Bolivia and Venezuela, where meltwater from glaciers provides drinking water during the dry season.
Ice road truckers in Canada – symbolically 'at the end of the world' – with their massive trucks travelling over the frozen lakes in the Canadian northwest, are well known around the world thanks to numerous TV programmes. The ice roads are open for only a few weeks per year.
Thwaites Glacier, one of the most fragile glaciers in western Antarctica, is melting inexorably into the Amundsen Sea at an ever-increasing rate. Until now, it has been responsible for approximately four percent of the global rise in sea level and will cause the oceans to rise by over 65 centimetres in future as its remaining ice melts.
Shelves of ice, hundreds of metres thick, breaking into thousands of small icebergs that melt away in just a few days. This is not a scene from a disaster movie, but actually happened in the Antarctic in 1995 and 2002.
Bardarbunga, (Bárðarbunga) in Iceland, one of the largest volcanoes in Europe and located beneath the biggest glacier in Europe, became active again in mid-August. For several years now, DLR researchers have been keeping a close eye on Bardarbunga and the system of volcanoes associated with it – an enormous network of subterranean magma channels, vents and craters.
Kiritimati atoll is a unique place – here, major European cities or entire countries become tiny hamlets, and where you might find that Paris is abandoned, 235 people live in Poland and London has about 1829 inhabitants.
2153 mirrors twist and turn at DLR Experimental Solar Thermal Power Plant in Jülich, directing sunlight onto a 22-square-metre receiver. TerraSAR-X, the German radar satellite operated by DLR, can also detect the mirrors as they follow the Sun – from more than 500 kilometres above Earth.
Captain William Mynors was not particularly creative as he sailed past a remote island in the Indian Ocean on the 'Royal Mary', a ship belonging to the British East India Company, on 25 December 1643.
Glasses are rattling on the shelves and the ground is rumbling – since January 2011 the earth under the Santorini volcano has been stirring. Most of the time, it is barely noticeable, but every now and then the inhabitants notice small tremors jolting the volcanic archipelago.
Clouds, darkness, rain – the radar 'vision' of TerraSAR-X is unaffected by these conditions. Dark and light areas contrast clearly in this image, acquired by the German Aerospace Center's (DLR) TerraSAR-X satellite.
A mere 10 kilometres separate John O'Groats, at the northernmost tip of the Scottish mainland, and South Ronaldsay, in the Orkney Islands. What passengers on the ferries directly experience can also be observed from space by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) TanDEM-X and TerraSAR-X satellite duo; in the Pentland Firth, the water flows at great speed, often causing a rough crossing.
Ice and snow can be colourful – at least when seen through the 'eyes' of the German Aerospace Center's (DLR) TerraSAR-X radar satellite. The radar signals are able to penetrate the snow cover to a depth of one metre – and the subsurface reflects the pulse in different ways.
Viewed from above, the US 'Burning Man' festival resembles a spider web. In October and September 2011, the TerraSAR-X radar satellite, operated by DLR, acquired some impressive images of the festival and its setup process.
When a series of images acquired with the German radar satellite TerraSAR-X – operated by DLR – are combined into a sequence, the result is truly amazing; even gas storage tanks can have an eventful life of their own. The position of their covers reveals the amount of gas in the tanks; as it varies over time, TerraSAR-X gazes down at the bobbing of the gas tank covers in the Italian Porto Marghera.
The crater of the Chilean volcano Puyehue displays a striking, circular outline in this image from the German Aerospace Center (DLR) TerraSAR-X satellite – so this was not the culprit when a volcano in the southern Andes erupted on 4 June 2011. Instead, as the images from the German radar satellite show for the first time, the new eruption centre lies 6.7 kilometres further to the northwest, in the Cordón Caulle region.
Nobody knows exactly how many people live in Istanbul, but there are thought to be about 15 million inhabitants of this city on two continents. Images from the German Aerospace Center (DLR) TerraSAR-X radar satellite are giving urban planners a more accurate view of something slightly different – how much the city on the Bosphorus has spread out recentlyreitet.
If the city of Bonn were located on the edge of the Fimbul Ice Shelf, in the Antarctic, its inhabitants would now be embarking on a journey through the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. An iceberg the size of Bonn – with a surface area of 120 square kilometres – has calved in the Atlantic. Glaciologists at Hamburg University's Climate Campus have been using the German Aerospace Center (DLR) radar satellite, TerraSAR-X, to observe the area from an altitude of 500 kilometres and gain a better understanding of how icebergs like this will calve in the future.