The Everglades and Miami, Florida – November 21st, 2008
Here we have a splendid image of southern Florida, USA, including the city of Miami on the southeastern coast, the Everglades on the southern tip, and the Florida Keys, the island chain dangling off the southernmost point.
Moving up the western coast from the Everglades we can also see the cities of Naples, Sarasota, St. Petersburg and Tampa.
The Everglades are a subtropical wetland, comprising the southern half of a large watershed.
The system begins near Orlando with the Kissimmee River, which discharges into the vast but shallow Lake Okeechobee, the large inland body of water visible in the image.
Water leaving the lake in the wet season forms a slow-moving river 60 miles (97 km) wide and over 100 miles (160 km) long, flowing southward across a limestone shelf to Florida Bay, identifiable in the image as the dark green bay at the southern end of the state.
The large green halo extending from the bay was caused by limestone sediments pushed out to sea by the heavy rainfall the area had been experiencing at the time the image was taken.
The ever-changing Everglades are shaped by water and fire, with frequent flooding in the wet season and drought in the dry season. In the image, some such fires are visible on the land just south of Lake Okeechobee.
The Everglades are comprised of a complex system of interdependent ecosystems that include sawgrass marshes, cypress swamps, the estuarine mangrove forests of the Ten Thousand Islands, tropical hardwood hammocks, pine rockland, and the marine environment of Florida Bay.