The Arc de Triomphe is located at the center of 12 radiating avenues in Paris, France. Yesterday, millions took to these streets to celebrate France’s second FIFA World Cup victory (with a 4-2 final win over Croatia). Today, players and coaches will parade up the Champs-Elysees avenue, which passes diagonally through this Overview from bottom left to upper right.
The Great Barrier Reef is Earth’s largest structure composed of living things, made of more than 2,900 individual reefs stretching roughly 1,400 miles (2,253 kilometers) offshore of Australia. Perhaps there is no better “canary in the coal mine” for nature’s reaction to a warming planet than the recent coral bleaching events at the reef. Ninety-three percent of the increase in global temperatures has been absorbed by the oceans, raising water temperatures and causing ocean acidification. As a reaction to the warmer waters, coral expel the algae living inside their tissues, which give the coral necessary nutrients that provide up to 90 percent of their energy. Corals can continue to live after bleaching, but often they begin to starve soon thereafter. In 2016, a bleaching event killed approximately 30 percent of the Great Barrier Reef ’s coral, and overall, the average time between bleaching events has halved between 1980 and 2016.
Karlskrona, Sweden, is a city of roughly 67,000 people spread over 30 islands in the Baltic Sea. Its city center on the island of Trossö -- seen at the bottom of this Overview -- is characterized by uniform, baroque-style buildings from the turn of the 18th century. With an ideal coastal location on the southeastern end of Sweden, Karlskrona hosts the nation's only remaining naval base and the headquarters of the Swedish Coast Guard.
The Venetian Islands are a chain of six manmade islands in Miami Beach, Florida. Rivo Alto Island (left), Di Lido Island (center), and Marino Island (right) are pictured here. While the islands’ residential neighborhoods have some of the highest property values in the city, they are also among the first places ordered to evacuate in advance of a hurricane.
Calgary and the surrounding prairies of Alberta meet the rugged Canadian Rockies in western Canada. This 910-mile (1,460-km) stretch of mountains is overall more jagged than the American Rockies, with sharply pointed peaks and wide, U-shaped glacial valleys. As the third largest municipality in Canada, Calgary serves as a popular base for tourists and adventure-seekers wishing to venture into the four Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks. The yellow in the fields surrounding the city are canola flowers which are harvested for the production of oil that’s used as a source of biodiesel and is also a key ingredient in many foods.
Sydney Airport in New South Wales, Australia. At the top of this Overview, we see a Boeing 747 (left) and an Airbus A380 (right) parked in front of blast deflector fences, massive structures that protect people and property during engine tests. As the busiest airport in Australia, the facility handles more than 42 million passengers each year.
Citrus trees swirl on the hillsides of Huelva, Spain. The climate here is ideal for this growth with an average temperature of 17.8° C (64° F) and a relative humidity between 60% and 80%.
Chicago is the most populous city in the state of Illinois and the third most populous city in the United States, with upwards of 2.7 million people. Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, the city’s gridded avenues stretch from the vibrant waters. For a sense of scale, O’Hare International Airport, which covers 11.9 square miles (30.8 square km), is visible in the bottom left.
Rocky outcrops form along the southern shore of Lake Turkana in northwestern Kenya. With a surface area of 2,473 square miles (6,405 square km), it is the world’s largest permanent desert lake and also the world’s largest alkaline lake. However, Turkana is threatened by the controversial construction of the Gilgel Gibe III Dam in Ethiopia, which blocks the Omo River from flowing into the lake.
Boats are docked at a residential pier in Marina del Rey, California. Located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, the port is North America’s largest small-craft harbor, capable of housing more than 5,000 boats. In addition to pleasure craft, Marina del Rey is frequented used by Catalina Island ferries, commercial fishing vessels, and whale watching boats.
The Golden Gate Bridge is a 1.7-mile-long suspension bridge in San Francisco, California. It spans the Golden Gate Strait, the mile-wide channel between San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. The bridge’s signature color, known as "international orange," was selected to complement its natural surroundings and enhance its visibility in fog.
The Port of Manila is the largest shipping facility in the Philippines, handling more than 75 million tonnes of cargo every year. Located at the mouth of the Pasig River, the area surrounding the port is home approximately 2 million people. In total, Manila is home to 22 million people in its urban area and is one of the world’s most densely populated cities with more than 41,000 people per square kilometer (107k per square mile).
The Cát Bà Archipelago in northern Vietnam is made up of 367 islands that span 100 square miles (260 sq. km) in the southeastern edge of Lan Ha Bay. The largest island — also called Cát Bà — has roughly 13,000 inhabitants, with an additional 4,000 people living on floating fishing villages off the coast as seen here. The island is the adventure-tourism capital of Vietnam, with places to mountain bike, rock climb, hike, and more.
Florence, the capital of Italy’s Tuscany Region, is seen here flanking the Arno River. Noted for its culture, Renaissance art and architecture, monuments, and museums, the city attracts millions of tourists every year. Among Florence’s many red terra-cotta roofs, we can see one of its most iconic sights — the Santa Maria del Fiore, or Florence Cathedral, which is home to the largest dome built of brick and mortar in the world.
The Bush Fire is currently burning through large tracts of the Tonto National Forest in central Arizona. In these infrared Overviews captured on June 21, red areas represent living vegetation and grey areas show land scorched by the wildfire, which is already the fifth-largest in Arizona’s history. As the fire has gone relatively unnoticed in a jam-packed national news cycle, it has already burned more than 186,000 acres in the last 11 days. The Bush Fire is burning simultaneously with the Bighorn Fire — nearly 60,000 acres burned — and to the north by the Mangum Fire — nearly 70,000 acres burned. For a sense of scale, this Overview shows roughly 60 square miles (37k acres or 150 square km).
Cars wind down the hill of Lombard Street in San Francisco, California. With eight hairpin turns dispersed over a one-block section in the Russian Hill neighborhood, Lombard is often referred to as “the most crooked street in the world.” In recent months this area has seen significantly less traffic due to the city’s shelter-in-place orders and a decrease in tourism.
Rub’ al Khali — or “The Empty Quarter” — is the largest sand desert in the world. It covers 251,000 square miles (650,000 sq. km) and includes parts of Saudi Arabia, Oman, Yemen, and the United Arab Emirates. As seen here, the center of the desert contains a number of raised, hardened formations that were once the sites of shallow lakes, thousands of years ago.
Kauai is an island in the Central Pacific, part of the Hawaiian archipelago. It is the oldest of the Hawaiian Islands — having formed about 5 million years ago — and is also the fourth largest, with an area of 562 square miles (1,456 square kilometers). Rainforests and mountain ranges cover more than 90% of Kauai, earning it the nickname “the Garden Isle.” It is home to about 72,000 people.
Today is Juneteenth, a holiday to commemorate the day in 1865 when liberation of the last African-American slaves was announced in the city of Galveston, Texas. The 155-year-old celebration, also known as Jubilee Day, is considered the longest running African-American holiday. Galveston, which is now home to about 50,000 residents, is shown here next to the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Venice, Italy, is situated upon 118 small islands that are separated by canals and linked by bridges. With tide waters expected to rise to perilous levels in the coming decades, the city has constructed 78 giant steel gates across the three inlets through which water from the Adriatic could surge into Venice’s lagoon. The panels — which weigh 300 tons and are 92ft wide and 65ft high — are fixed to massive concrete bases dug into the seabed.