MODIS Overview

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) is a 36-channel visible to thermal-infrared sensor. It was first launched on 18 December 1999 on the Terra satellite, the flagship of NASA's Earth Observing System (EOS) program. A second MODIS was deployed on the Aqua satellite on 04 May 2002.

The MODIS instruments on Terra and Aqua image the same area on Earth at approximately 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. (local time), respectively. Working in tandem, these sensors optimize cloud-free surface viewing and provide opportunities to investigate processes that occur on sub-daily time scales. NSIDC archives and distributes a suite of snow cover and sea ice data sets derived from MODIS observations.

Snow on the Plateau
In this MODIS Terra image, bright white snow blankets the brown volcanic landscape of Siberia's Putorana Plateau.
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Contrasting Water and Land
The Susitna River Valley, AK drains into Cook Inlet. This image combines MODIS Terra visible and infrared light to increase the contrast between water and land.
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Ice in the Gulf of St. Lawrence
MODIS Aqua captures sea ice forming in Canada's Gulf of St. Lawrence on February 11, 2013.
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Storm Pummels the Pacific NW
MODIS Terra's view of a January 2012 winter storm that iced roads, downed power lines, and prompted avalanche warnings across the Pacific Northwest.
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Snow blankets the volcanic landscape of the Putorana Plateau in central Siberia
MODIS Terra image with visible and infrared light combined to increase contrast between water and land
MODIS Aqua image from February 11, 2013 that shows sea ice forming in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada
MODIS Terra image from January 2012 after a snow storm pummeled the Pacific Northwest