The Himalayas – with some of the highest mountain peaks on Earth – serve as a continental divide between Central and Southern Asia. The separation between cold air from the north and warm, moist air from the south is evident when looking at snow patterns along the mountain range in this true color imagery from the Suomi NPP satellite (taken November 15, 2013). The white snow cover barely extends to the southern slopes of the mountains. The differences in climate and surface features are even more apparent when looking at the near-infrared imagery instead of the true color visible imagery. Three bands from the VIIRS instrument are combined in this image (SVM05, SVM07, and SVM10), and the resulting colors are enhanced. In general, these bands are helpful in distinguishing differences in surface color (SVM05, 07) and snow cover (SVM10). Green areas in this image are associated with more vegetated surfaces, white indicates snow, and grey are mostly non-vegetated, cooler surfaces. Small lakes cover the surface. They not only become more readily visible using the near-infrared imagery, but also the ones with higher phytoplankton concentrations appear rust-colored.
An unlabeled version of the true color image can be downloaded here.