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Smoke on Blue Waters

Smoke on Blue Waters in the Gulf of Mexico

A clear sky gives a splendid view of most of the turquoise shallow coastal waters of the southeastern Gulf of Mexico, the Western Caribbean Sea, and the Lucayan Archipelago, also known as the Bahama Archipelago. The region, including the eastern part of the Caribbean not visible in this image, is home to about 9 percent of the world’s coral reefs. 

Meanwhile, multiple forest fires rage in Cuba,creating an extensive smoke plume that can be noticed on the ground as far as the Florida Keys. Dry forest ecosystems in the Caribbean are prone to forest fires, especially during the dry season lasting from January through June. Fire accelerates the spread of invasive species in these ecosystems. Some regions of the Caribbean are projected to experience longer dry seasons in the future, due to climate change, and this will likely increase the risk of wildfires in the area.

This image was captured on March 1, 2023, by the Aqua-MODIS Sensor.