Nova Scotia

Maritime snowmelt captured by NASA satellite images

On this sunny and cool Thursday, CBC meteorologist Kalin Mitchell decided to look at the progress of spring in the Maritimes from a different point of view.

CBC meteorologist Kalin Mitchell looks at the region from a different point of view

On this sunny and cool Thursday, I thought it would be fun to take a look at the progress of spring in the Maritimes from a different point of view. For that, I went to the NASA satellite imagery archives.

The winter image is from Feb. 17. I'm sure most people in Prince Edward Island remember that date — the day after a major storm left 60 cm to 80 cm of snow across much of the province.

This satellite image from NASA shows the snow covered sea ice in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Northumberland Strait. There's enough snow on P.E.I. to nearly camouflage the island. (NASA)

Our spring image is from yesterday, April 15.

This satellite image from NASA shows just how much snow has melted in the Maritimes. (NASA)

Here are a few of the most noticeable changes:

  • The disappearance of the sea ice in the Northumberland Strait and Gulf of St. Lawrence. In the winter image, P.E.I. is almost camouflaged into the snow on the sea ice, where in the spring image the province is once again clearly defined by surrounding open water.
  • The loss of the white outline around the coast of Nova Scotia. Coastal ice was quite thick this year, including at the Northwest Arm in Halifax and the Minas Basin.
  • The appearance of a widespread patch of greenish-brown in the southwest of Nova Scotia and the southwest of New Brunswick. The spring thaw is truly underway and while the vegetation is a little brown now it will be greening up over the next month.

You don't need a satellite image to find signs of spring around the Maritimes. If you have a picture of signs of spring, send them in to


Kalin Mitchell


Kalin Mitchell is the meteorologist on CBC News Nova Scotia, CBC News New Brunswick and CBC News Atlantic Tonight. He can also be heard on various afternoon CBC Radio shows giving up-to-the-minute weather forecasts.


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