In its weekly report issued on July 31, the U.S. Drought Monitor reported that 82 percent of the state of California was in an extreme drought and 58 percent was in exceptional drought—up from 79 and 36 percent just two weeks ago. The drying of farmlands and suburbs is mirrored by the shrinking of the state’s reservoirs.
The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) instrument on NASA’s Terra spacecraft captured these false-color views of central California on April 5, 2011 (top), and May 15, 2014. ASTER collects data in infrared, red, and green wavelengths of light, which are then combined to make false-color images where vegetation appears red; buildings and roads are white and gray; water is dark blue; and dry, barren land is tan. Read more
NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen, using data from NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team. Caption by Michael Carlowicz.