An icy view from space

From nearly 800km above the Earth's surface, the European Space Agency's (ESA) Copernicus Sentinel-2A satellite captured this image of the snowy landscape of the Putorana Plateau in northern Central Siberia, Russia. The picture was taken earlier this year and was released by the space agency last Friday.

The plateau is part of the magnificent Putoransky State Nature Reserve, which is listed as a Unesco world heritage site.

Situated about 100km north of the Arctic Circle, the area serves as a major reindeer migration route. But these seasonal movements have become "increasingly rare", according to Unesco. Reindeer populations in the wild have diminished as climate change impacts their Arctic habitat, say scientists.

The isolated mountain range that is seen here is virtually untouched by humans and includes pristine forests and cold-water lake and river systems. The lakes are characterised by elongated, fjord-like shapes, such as Lake Ayan visible in the centre of the image.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 03, 2016, with the headline 'An icy view from space'. Print Edition | Subscribe