Satellite Eye on Earth: March 2012

The Paraná River floodplain along the Mato Grosso-São Paulo border, Brazil. The river appears as a wide, blue strip with the muddy brown water of the smaller Verde River entering from the north-west (top left). An extensive wetland (dark green) and the floodplain reaches a width of 11 kilometres (about 7 miles). The thin line of a road crossing the floodplain also gives a sense of scale. The floodplains are bordered by numerous rectangular agricultural fields, containing coffee, corn, and cotton crops. (ISS/NASA)

Dust and clouds approximate a paisley pattern over the Arabian Sea. The dust in this storm likely arose from a sand sea known as the Empty Quarter, or Rub’ al Khali. Holding roughly half as much sand as the entire Sahara Desert, the Empty Quarter covers parts of Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates, and helps make the Arabian Peninsula one of the world’s most prolific dust-producing regions. (MODIS/Aqua/NASA)

Nasa’s Terra satellite flew over East Antarctica and detected swirls of green amid the ice off the Princess Astrid Coast. Green shading in an otherwise blue ocean usually indicates a bloom of phytoplankton, plant-like organisms that turn sunlight into biomass. Phytoplankton are the centre of the ocean food chain, feeding everything from krill to penguins to whales. (MODIS/Terra/NASA)

Arising from headwaters around Mount Robson in the Rocky Mountains, the Fraser River starts as a fast-moving stream. The river angles northward around the Columbia Mountains, picking up so much sediment that it appears brown by the time it reaches Quesnel. Near the coast, the river flows over flatter terrain, so it slows down and spreads out. On the final leg of its journey, the Fraser travels along the southern fringe of Vancouver. Flowing through braided channels, the Fraser River meanders toward the sea, emptying through multiple outlets. The river’s abundant sediment forms a distinct plume west of Vancouver, extending across the Strait of Georgia to the eastern shore of Valdes Island. (Landsat 5 /NASA)

Abundant green fields in the midst of a barren desert in Northern Saudi Arabia. As recently as 1986, there was little to no agricultural activity in the Wadi As-Sirhan Basin. But over the past 26 years, agricultural fields have been steadily developed, largely as a result of the investment of oil industry revenues by the Saudi government. Crops grown in the area include fruits, vegetables, and wheat. The fields are irrigated by water pumped from underground aquifers. (ISS/NASA)

After a nearly ice-free winter, North America’s Lake Erie was filled with swirls of suspended sediment and algae on the first day of spring 2012. (MODIS/Terra/NASA)

This image shows ocean surface currents around the world during the period from June 2005 to December 2007. (NASA)

This natural-colour image shows all of Bangladesh, as well as parts of India, Burma, and the Bay of Bengal. Included in the scene are the Sundarbans of the Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta. The Geological Survey of Bangladesh explains that most of the sediments covering the country are geologically young – deposited in the last 10,000 years. Deltaic silt and sand and mangrove forests dominate the south-western part of the country. Sand and gravel cover the north-western parts. North-eastern Bangladesh is covered by a combination of clay, peat, gravel, and sand. (MODIS/Terra/NASA)

Cloud streets around southern Greenland. (MODIS/Terra/NASA)

The city of Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland, and lies along the Firth of Forth. The area has been settled at least since the bronze age. By the 12th century Edinburgh was well established, centred around the castle rock. The city has maintained its medieval plan in the Old Town. In the 18th century the New Town was laid out to alleviate the problem of overcrowding. It can be seen as a regular rectangular grid here. (ASTER/NASA)

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