Energy and the planet: a bird's-eye view

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Clouds of sediment color the coastal waters of the Gulf of Mexico on Nov. 10, 2009, just hours after Tropical Storm Ida had come ashore over Alabama and Florida, just east of the area shown. The turbulence of the water brought the sediment to the surface, as seen in the waves and eddies inside the tan and green waters. Also contributing to the sediment is the deposits from many rivers, including the Mississippi, which drain into the Gulf. (NASA)

Yale’s e360 Digest has a link to an interesting series of NASA satellite photos released in the past year.
A number of the images have energy-specific ties, including these false-color shots of Dubai that show the development of the Palm Jumeirah, the growing reservoir behind the Three Gorges Dam in China, and volcanic mud flows surrounding the Drift River oil terminal on the Cook Inlet in Alaska.
The picture on this page is my favorite, however, because it shows very clearly the main reason Texas doesn’t have the sandy beaches that Florida has: river sediments. Every so often some Florida paper will do a story that tries to imply our not-so-pretty beaches are the result of offshore drilling. I’m sure our beaches would be nicer if we didn’t have major industry offshore, but the fact is nature plays a bigger role in our coastal appearance.