Fires in northern Australia
Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC
Scattered fires in Australia’s northern Western Australia state and Northern Territories send smoke streaming off in the northwestward-blowing wind. The smoke plumes appear as streaks of gray moving away from the fires, which are marked in red. In the lower center of the image, right on the border between the two states, sits man-made Lake Argyle, the largest freshwater body in the Southern Hemisphere. The lake was created in the early 1970s as part of the Ord River Irrigation Project, which was designed to transform the area around the Ord River into a highly-productive agricultural oasis.
To the north of Lake Argyle is the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf, which shows clouds of tan and green in its waters. The majority of these clouds are caused by sediment and silt from rivers emptying into the Gulf, though they may also indicate the presence of microscopic marine life. Similar clouds appear off the coast of the Northern Territories (upper right) between the mainland and Melville Island in the Van Diemen Gulf, as well as off the coast of Western Australia. Beyond the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf is the Timor Sea, and in the upper left corner of the image is the eastern edge of the Indian Ocean. This true-color Aqua MODIS image was acquired on April 24, 2003.