Satellite eye on Earth: September 2012

A night view of Kuwait City, the coastal city which serves as Kuwait’s political and economic capital. The metropolitan area has a population approaching 2.5 million

Satellite Eye: phytoplankton blooming off the coast of South Australia

Phytoplankton blooming off the coast of South Australia. Bright teal and turquoise swirls can be seen in Spencer Gulf (north), the Gulf of St Vincent (southern gulf) and off the Australian coast. Further in the ocean, duller green patches are also faintly visible. These are all likely the result of rapidly growing phytoplankton, microscopic plant-like organisms that thrive in watery environments. When conditions are right, phytoplankton can multiply explosively – a phenomenon known as a bloom. Because the organisms are pigmented, colonies are often brightly coloured and create dramatic patterns when viewed from space. While a bloom may last for several weeks, each individual phytoplankton rarely lives more than a day.
Satellite Eye: Hurricane  Isaac
The sprawling remnants of Hurricane Isaac. On this date bands of rain and storm producing clouds stretched from near the Great Lakes south to northern Florida. Isaac whipped by the Lesser and Greater Antilles, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Cuba before bee-lining through the Straits of Florida towards the Gulf Coast.
Satellite Eye: The Petermann ice island
On 6 September the Petermann ice island 2012 (PII-2012), which calved from the Petermann Glacier in July began to break apart in early September. The Modis instrument has been following the progression of PII-2012, first catching it in the act of breaking off the Petermann Glacier and beginning a southward drift on 16 July. Since that date, the ice island has continued to slowly slide southward, riding the slow current of the Nares Strait towards Baffin Bay. In this image, at least five distinct pieces can be observed from space – a central piece and four smaller fragments.
Satellite Eye: Pyramids at Giza
Pyramids at Giza, Egypt are featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 32 crew member on the International Space Station. The pyramids at Giza are the last of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The southeast-facing sides of the pyramids of the pharaohs Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure are all brightly illuminated by the sun, while the north-west-facing sides are in shadow. This shadowing also highlights smaller unfinished pyramids to the south of Menkaure’s pyramid, as well as fields of rectangular flat roofed mastabas (tombs) to the east and west of Khufu’s pyramid. To the southeast of Khufu’s pyramid, the head and rear haunches of the Sphinx are also visible (albeit not clearly).
Satellite Eye: The southern Ukrainian coast along the Black Sea
The southern Ukrainian coast along the Black Sea, The green and yellow patchwork of agricultural dominates the land, while blue swirls of sediment and phytoplankton are present along parts of the coast. The Black Sea, bordered by Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Russia, Georgia and Ukraine, is almost cut off completely from the rest of the world’s other oceans. The straits of Bosporus and Dardanelle connect the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea.
Satellite Eye: Arctic Sea Ice
Satellite data reveal how the new record low Arctic sea ice extent the average minimum extent over the past 30 years (in yellow). The frozen cap of the Arctic Ocean appears to have reached its annual summertime minimum extent and broken a new record low on 16 September, the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) reported.
Satellite Eye: The Mustang Complex wildland fires in Idaho
19 September 2012: The Mustang Complex wildland fires in Idaho. Close to 300,000 acres have been burned by the Mustang fires and hundreds of people have been forced to flee the area.
Satellite Eye:  dust plume blowing over the Red Sea.
On 1 September, a dust plume blowing over the Red Sea. Sudan is the country on the west of the Red Sea, and Saudi Arabia lies to the east. Over Sudan, the dust blended with the land surface below, discernible only by its fuzzy outline (upper left corner). Dust was thick immediately off the Sudan coast, but thinned slightly toward the southeast (visible in the high-resolution images). On either side of the Red Sea, the Sahara Desert and the Arabian Peninsula rank among the world’s most prolific dust-producing regions. The dust in this image originated in northeastern Africa, where a network of impermanent rivers has created fine sediments that can be easily lofted into the air.
Satellite Eye: Meeting of the Waters
The Encontro das Aguas in Brazil, or the ‘Meeting of the Waters’. The coffee-coloured water, rich with sediment, runs down from the Andes Mountains – the Solimões. The black-tea water from the Colombian hills and interior jungles is Rio Negro, nearly sediment-free and coloured by decayed leaf and plant matter. Where the two rivers meet, east of Manaus, Brazil, they flow side by side within the same channel for several kilometers. The cooler, denser, and faster waters of the Solimões and the warmer, slower waters of the Negro form a boundary visible from space and from the water surface itself. Turbulent eddies driven by the faster-moving whitewater eventually mix the two, as they merge to become the Lower Amazon River.
Satellite Eye: Drought, Kansas
Drought, Kansas. The Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Wetlands area in central Kansas, the largest interior marsh in the United States, has been dramatically impacted by the drought besetting large areas of the western US in 2012. There was sufficient water in the wetland area as recently as 18 June 2010 (left), but the levels began to diminish as seen on 6 June 2011 (middle). By 2012, virtually all the water had evaporated. The area has provided a resting place for millions of migrating birds every autumn, and wildlife officials are using satellite images like these to help them determine what actions to take to sustain a habitat for the nesting waterfowl.
Satellite Eye: Istanbul at Night
Most of Istanbul’s Asian suburbs (image right) appear in this night view from the International Space Station, but only about half the area of the city on the European side is visible. The margins of the metropolitan area are clearly visible at night, more so than in daylight images. The Bosporus strait famously separates the two halves of the city and links the small Sea of Marmara (and the Mediterranean Sea) to the Black Sea. The strait is 19 miles long, most of which is visible in this view. Apart from the Sea of Marmara and Black Sea, the other dark areas are wooded hills that provide open spaces for the densely populated city—one of the largest in Europe at 13.5 million inhabitants. The old city of Istanbul occupies the prominent point at the southern entrance to the strait. The brighter lines crossing the metropolitan area the major traffic arteries.
Satellite Eye: Horton River Delta, Arctic Canada
Horton River Delta, Arctic Canada. A river flowing down a steep slope follows a pretty straight path, with gravity exerting a tremendous pull on the water. But a river flowing over a flat landscape can meander left and right, occasionally abandoning river channels to become oxbow lakes or to take a shorter route to the sea. In the past few centuries, the Horton River in northwestern Canada stopped wandering and assumed a more direct route to the sea. Situated about 260 miles east of the Alaska border, the modern Horton River empties into Franklin Bay; but as this image shows, it once followed a different path.
Satellite Eye: Extensive agricultural use in western Russia
Extensive agricultural use in western Russia, with roads and rivers cutting through the cropland. This area, part of Russia’s Black Earth Region, is about 400 km directly south of Moscow. Many grains are grown here, such as winter wheat and rye. This image is a compilation of three passes by the Japanese Advanced Land Observation Satellite’s radar on 14 June 2009, 14 September 2009 and 2 August 2010. Each image at the different recording date is assigned a colour (red, green or blue) and combined to produce this representation. The colours reveal changes in the surface between the satellite’s passes.
Satellite Eye: Another Foggy Day in San Francisco
The relentless waves of fog that roll off the Pacific Ocean into San Francisco each summer inspire are a fact of life for San Franciscans, particularly those who live near the Golden Gate Bridge.
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