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Great Barrier Reef Parallel to Australia Coast – May 4th, 2013

23.6S 152.1E

May 4th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Image of the day

Australia – May 4th, 2013

The Great Barrier Reef stretches 2,300 kilometres along the Queensland coast and includes over 2,900 reefs, and around 940 islands and cays.
Although the reef was thought to be well-protected, scientists have discovered that poor fishing practices, pollution and coral bleaching exacerbated by increased sea temperatures due to global warming are all seriously threatening the reef’s future.

Plumes of Smoke Over Coral Sea, Australia – December 16th, 2012

16.5S 145.9E

December 16th, 2012 Category: Fires, Image of the day

Australia – December 16th, 2012

Fires can be seen near the coast of Queensland, Australia, releasing plumes of smoke that blow eastward over the Coral Sea. Visible offshore is the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef system. It is composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 2,600 kilometres (1,600 mi) over an area of approximately 344,400 square kilometres (133,000 sq mi).

Fire West of Hinchinbrook Island, Australia

18.3S 146.2E

October 28th, 2012 Category: Fires

Australia – October 27th, 2012

A fire near the coast of Queensland, Australia, continues to release a large plume of smoke. Here, the plume is blowing towards the east-southeast. The fire is located in or near Girringun National Park. Visible offshore east of the fire is Hinchinbrook Island. part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the largest island on the Great Barrier Reef.

Great Barrier Reef Along Queensland Coast, Australia – April 4th, 2012

16.9S 145.7E

April 4th, 2012 Category: Image of the day

Australia - April 4th, 2012

Close-up

Visible in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland in northeast Australia, is the Great Barrier Reef. It is the world’s largest coral reef system, composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 2,600 kilometres (1,600 mi) over an area of approximately 344,400 square kilometres (133,000 sq mi).

The reef structure is composed of and built by billions of tiny organisms, known as coral polyps. A large part of the reef is protected by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which helps to limit the impact of human use, such as fishing and tourism. Other environmental pressures on the reef and its ecosystem include runoff, climate change accompanied by mass coral bleaching, and cyclic population outbreaks of the crown-of-thorns starfish.

Climate change, pollution, crown-of-thorns starfish and fishing are the primary threats to the health of this reef system. Other threats include shipping accidents, oil spills, and tropical cyclones. Skeletal Eroding Band, a disease of bony corals caused by the protozoan Halofolliculina corallasia, affects 31 coral species.

Grand Bahama and Andros Island, in the Bahamas – February 20th, 2012

24.7N 78W

February 20th, 2012 Category: Image of the day

Bahamas - January 2nd, 2012

This image shows several islands of the Bahamas. The water around them appears bright blue as the islands sit atop huge limestone platforms known as the Bahama Banks, and the depth of the water above these platforms is quite shallow. The water abruptly turns dark blue in color where the platforms suddenly drop off to great depths.

Visible near the bottom edge in the lower left quadrant is Andros Island, an archipelago within the Bahamas, and the largest of the 26 inhabited Bahamian Islands. Geo-politically considered a single island, Andros has an area greater than all the other 700 Bahamian islands combined. The land area of Andros consists of hundreds of small islets and cays connected by mangrove estuaries and tidal swamp lands, together with three major islands—North Andros, Mangrove Cay, and South Andros. The three main islands are separated by “bights”, estuaries which trifurcate the island, connecting the island’s east and west coasts. It is 104 miles (167 km) long by at its widest 40 miles (64 km) wide.

Noteworthy for a unique combination of marine features and ecosystems, Andros rests on the west side of the 6000 foot (3+ km) deep Tongue of the Ocean. The Andros Barrier Reef is the world’s third longest after Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and the Central American Belize Barrier Reef, runs for 142 miles (225 km) averaging a distance of only 1–2 miles from the Andros shore. The extensive flats of the Great Bahama Bank lie to the west, northwest and south of Andros.

Visible to the north of Andros Island is Grand Bahama, one of the northernmost of the islands of the Bahamas, and the closest major island to the United States, lying 90 km off the state of Florida. Grand Bahama is the fifth largest island in the Bahamas island chain of approximately 700 islands and 2,400 cays. The island is approximately 150 km long west to east and 20 km at its widest point north to south. North and east of Grand Bahama lie the Abaco Islands.

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