Glacier photographs: Past and present

Some of the most beautiful natural features on Earth — glaciers — are changing right before our eyes. Many glaciers look remarkably different today than they did even 100 years ago. For those of you interested in monitoring these changes, wouldn’t it be nifty to have photographs of the same glacier, taken from the same vantage point and at the same time of year, but taken many years apart? Well, we’ve got a whole collection of them, featuring 45 sets of repeat photographs of glaciers taken from 1880 to 2009 in the USA, Peru, and Australia. This unique collection of photographs provides striking visual evidence of glacier changes over climatological time scales.

To browse and download the photos, go to the Search & Order Interface of our Glacier Photograph Collection. Make sure that “Repeat glacier photography” is selected under the “Search Type” drop-down list. Additionally, if you’re looking for teaching materials that use these photographs, check out the classroom activity created by UCAR’s Spark.

Muir glacier photograph pair, 1941 and 2004

Muir Glacier photographed by William Field on 13 August 1941 (left) and by Bruce Molnia on 31 August 2004 (right).

I spy a glacier – from space

Upsala Glacier, Argentina. Taken January 22, 2002 from the International Space Station

Upsala Glacier, Argentina. Taken January 22, 2002 from the International Space Station

Astronauts in space sure have an amazing view of the Earth; and lucky for us they have captured that view in numerous photographs.  NSIDC holds a special collection of glacier photographs taken by astronauts on the International Space Station and the Space Shuttle Endeavor between 1994 and the beginning of 2010.

To see the photos, go to the Search & Order Interface of our Glacier Photograph Collection.

Under “Search Type” choose  “Astronaut Glacier Photograph Collection.”

These photos are useful for lessons in geomorphology or to examine large scale seasonal changes in glaciers over a short time period.

The photos were collected in collaboration with The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth project.