ISS014-E-17999

Browse image
Resolutions offered for this image:
1000 x 1462 pixels 540 x 789 pixels 267 x 560 pixels 540 x 347 pixels 3032 x 2064 pixels 639 x 435 pixels
Cloud masks available for this image:

Spacecraft nadir point: 43.8° N, 75.4° W

Photo center point: 43.1° N, 79.0° W

Nadir to Photo Center: West

Spacecraft Altitude: 183 nautical miles (339km)
Click for Google map
Width Height Annotated Cropped Purpose Links
1000 pixels 1462 pixels No Yes Earth From Space collection Download Image
540 pixels 789 pixels Yes Yes Earth From Space collection Download Image
267 pixels 560 pixels Yes Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site Download Image
540 pixels 347 pixels Yes Yes NASA's Earth Observatory web site Download Image
3032 pixels 2064 pixels No No Download Image
639 pixels 435 pixels No No Download Image
Other options available:
Download Packaged File
Download a Google Earth KML for this Image
View photo footprint information
Image Caption: Springtime Comes to the Niagara River:
(image is paired with/compared to image ISS015-E-5624)
What a difference a month makes! These two images of the Niagara River draining Lake Erie (bottom) into Lake Ontario (top) were acquired about a month apart (March 21 and April 29, 2007, respectively) from the International Space Station. The pair documents the breakup of the Lake Erie ice pack, the unofficial signature of spring for residents of Buffalo and Niagara Falls. In March, the eastern end of Lake Erie is clogged with ice that is pushed against the shoreline by the prevailing westerly wind. The ice collects in Lake Erie, and the Lake Erie-Niagara River Ice Boom prevents it from flowing down the Niagara River, which is the international boundary between the Canadian Province of Ontario, and New York State.

The 2,680-meter (8,800-foot) boom is deployed each December. Operational since 1964, the boom serves several functions: it protects the water intakes for the Niagara River power plants, and it minimizes ice runs (large blocks of ice flowing downstream as ice breaks up in the spring) and blockages that can create damage and flooding along the river. At the height of winter, the thickness of the ice at the Buffalo harbor can reach 3.5 meters (12 feet). The removal of the ice boom, usually in early April, is now marked by local celebrations. This year the boom was removed in mid-April, a bit later than usual. A webcam allows remote viewers to monitor ice pack at the boom.

During their missions, astronauts track the changing seasons using such indicators as the springtime melting of ice packs in high-latitude oceans and lakes. Over the next two years, the space station astronauts will make these types of observations to support International Polar Year (IPY) investigations.