May 15, 2022 2:01 pm

winter on the roof of the world

While passing over the Tibetan Qinghai Plateau in January 2020, an astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS-ISS) looked to the southwest and took a picture of glacial lakes near the Himalayas.

Francis Martin Leon 2 min
Photograph from the ISS-ISS acquired on January 26, 2020 of the roof of the world

Located just northeast of Mount Everest, Lake Puma Yumco and Lake Yamdrok were frozen at the time.

Glacial runoff fills these lakes, which are vital to life in the small towns along their shores. For the people of one such village, Tuiwa, the winter ice cap at Puma Yumco creates a traversable surface for herding sheep to areas where more forage is available.

Puma Yumco and Yamdrok are just two of many glacial lakes along the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, which spans 2.5 million square kilometers. With an average elevation of 4,500 meters above sea level, the plateau is one of the highest geographic features on Earth and is often called the ” roof of the world “.

Astronaut photograph ISS061-E-145772 was acquired on January 26, 2020 with a Nikon D5 digital camera with a focal length of 210 millimeters. It is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Johnson Space Center Earth Sciences and Remote Sensing Unit.

NASA Earth Observatory

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