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Fertile California Central Valley and Nearby Desert Areas of USA and Mexico

35.2N 119.5W

December 6th, 2009 Category: Climate Change

USA and Mexico - November 17th, 2009

USA and Mexico - November 17th, 2009

The California Central Valley, bounded by the Coastal Mountain Ranges in the west, the Sierra Nevada to the east, the Cascade Range in the north and the Tehachapi Mountains in the south, is California’s agricultural heartland and grows approximately one-third of the USA’s food.

East of the Cascades and Sierra Nevada ranges lies the Intermontane Plateaus (also known as the Intermountain West), a large, arid desert. The large southern portion, known as the Great Basin, consists of salt flats, drainage basins, and many small north-south mountain ranges. The Southwest is predominantly a low-lying desert region, which continues into Baja California and the rest of northern Mexico.

This FAPAR image highlights the great contrast between the high vegetation index of the California Central Valley and surrounding mountains, and the low photosynthetic activity of the desert areas.

California Central Valley and Coastal Ranges

37.9N 121.2W

July 2nd, 2009 Category: Rivers, Snapshots

California, USA - June 30th, 2009

California, USA - June 30th, 2009

This orthorectified ASAR (radar) image shows two geographical divisions of California, USA: the South Coast Ranges and the Central Valley.

The South Coast Ranges run north and south, parallel to the Pacific Coast, between San Francisco Bay to the north, the California Central Valley to the east, the Transverse Ranges to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west.

Much of the Central Valley is used for agriculture, although many populated areas are also visible. The bright white patch in the center, surrounded by farmland, is the city of Stockton. In and around Stockton are thousands of miles of waterways and rivers that make up the California Delta.

One important body of water visible here, at the upper left, is Suisun Bay, a shallow tidal estuary. It lies at the confluence of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers, thus forming the entrance to the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, an inverted river delta.

Wildfire North of Sacramento Valley, USA

40.4N 122.4W

September 28th, 2012 Category: Fires

USA – September 3rd, 2012

A thick plume of smoke is released from a wildfire north of the Sacramento Valley, the portion of the California Central Valley that lies to the north of the San Joaquin-Sacramento Delta in the U.S. state of California. The plume of smoke is thickest near its point of origin, but winds have also blown it westward, creating a thin, hazy veil over the area. Click here for previous images of wildfires in western USA.

Southern California, USA, and Baja California, Mexico – December 24th, 2009

31.7N 114.7W

December 24th, 2009 Category: Image of the day

Mexico - November 17th, 2009

Mexico - November 17th, 2009

This image stretches from the southern half of the California Central Valley, USA, in the upper left quadrant, to El Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve, in Baja California, Mexico, in the lower right quadrant. In between the two, the Colorado River spills tan sediments around Montague Island into the Sea of Cortes, also known as the Gulf of California.

Several mountain ranges can also be observed, including the Sierra Nevada Range, which bounds the California Central Valley to the east, the Tehachapi Mountains, south of the valley.

East of the Sierra Nevada ranges lies the large desert of the Intermontane Plateaus a large, arid desert. The southern portion of this region, known as the Great Basin, contains salt flats, drainage basins, and many smaller mountain ranges running north to south.