Satellite Image, Photo of Border Between Belize and Mexico

Chetumal Bay, Ambergris Cay Chetumal Bay lies on the Border between Mexico and Belize. To the east of the bay, Ambergris Cay connects the Belize Barrier Reef to the Yucatan Peninsula. The north of the island is Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve. Here, the barrier reef comes very close to the east side of the island. In 1998, reefs in Belize were hit by two major events that led to heavy coral mortality: El Niño-related coral bleaching and Hurricane Mitch. Astronaut photographs of coral reefs are being used to provide perspective on coral reef geography, coastal development, and related land habitats. Numerous photographs taken by astronauts were included in the recently published World Atlas of Coral Reefs (click to read the recent press release). Coral reef images acquired by astronauts can also be used as mapping data in more detailed remote sensing applications. Images of coral reef areas are being acquired by astronauts on Space Station Alpha as part of the Crew Earth Observations Project. Coral reefs are one of the areas selected as a scientific theme for this project (see also the recent Earth Observatory article, Mapping the Decline of Coral Reefs)..
Source: NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Drought in North America July 2000

This image shows the difference between the amount of vegetation in July 2000 and the average July vegetation for North America. Of particular interest are the dry conditions in the western United States. This spring and summer the Rocky Mountains have been relatively dry, and the brown regions stretching from the Canadian to the Mexican border, indicate the effect on the regions forests. Western Montana and eastern Idaho are particularly parched, and appear darker brown. The dry conditions have contributed to this years devastating fire season, during which millions of acres have burned in the west. Scientists find that during the growing season, land plants can be used to measure drought. Healthy, thriving plants reflect and absorb visible and near-infrared light differently than plants under stress. These variations in reflectance and absorption can be measured by satellites to produce maps of healthy and stressed vegetation. This image shows Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) anomaly, which indicates where vegetation growth was above average (green pixels), below average (brown pixels), or normal (white pixels). For more images and information about measuring vegetation and drought from space visit: Drought and Vegetation Monitoring.
Source: Image courtesy NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Biospheric Sciences Branch, based on data from NOAA

North America illumination at night

North America illumination at night. The lights are a good illustration of the distribution and growth of urban areas in North America.