Southeastern United States
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Southeastern United States

December 1, 2011
Fires and fall colors decorated the landscape of the southeastern United States on November 11, 2011, when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this true-color image.

Although the autumn leaf-color season peak passed weeks ago, and most of the high elevations are leafless, some color lingers in lower elevations. The forests in the north of this image are tinged with orange, particularly noticeable near the Appalachian Mountains on the Tennessee-North Carolina border. North Carolina’s visitnc.com website reports that, for the first time in years, the oaks have become clothed in orange, red and russet brown before casting off their leaves. Most years the oaks leaves become dry and brown before falling.

Even though there is a tint of color, most of the region appears brown, especially the agricultural lands in valleys, including the broad Mississippi Valley, seen in the west of the image. Summer crops have been harvested and grasslands have turned brown. Green remains in some areas, most of which are predominantly pine and other non-deciduous trees.

Fires dot the landscape, although little haze or smoke can be seen in the sky. Most of these fires are agricultural in origin, and occur annually each fall.

Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC

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