In June 2020, just the right weather patterns were in place to provide a clear view of the snowy landscape.
In southern South America, clouds often rule the skies. But in June 2020, just the right weather patterns were in place to provide a rare, clear view of Patagonia in winter.
On June 26, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired these images, skies were clear over nearly all of Patagonia, which spans more than 1 million square kilometers of the continent’s southern end. Snow cover is visible from the western slopes of the Andes Mountains in Chile to the coastal lowlands in Argentina.
According to René Garreaud, a professor at the University of Chile, it’s unusual to see such a widespread cloud-free area over Patagonia. “The last time that I saw a completely clear image was in February 2019,” he said. At that time, during the Southern Hemisphere’s summer, the warm seasonal temperatures meant snow and ice were mostly limited to the spine of the Andes and the Patagonian icefields.
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Image via NASA Earth Observatory