The Barataria Bay in Louisiana. Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features the Barataria Bay in Louisiana, which has lost an estimated 430 square miles of land between 1932 and 2016 as a result of both human disturbance and natural causes.
Both global warming and sea level rise have contributed to the dramatic changes. Guandong Li is a Tulane University geologist who recently published a study on sediment dynamics in Barataria Bay. He explained that rising waters have accelerated the rate of land loss in the bay by roughly 20 to 30 percent
The image was captured on October 2, 2020 by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8.Much of the state’s lands were formed from sediment washed down the Mississippi River, leaving enormous deltas and vast areas of coastal marsh and swamp. These contain a rich southern biota; typical examples include birds such as ibises and egrets. There are also many species of tree frogs, and fish such as sturgeon and paddlefish. In more elevated areas, fire is a natural process in the landscape and has produced extensive areas of longleaf pine forest and wet savannas. These support an exceptionally large number of plant species, including many species of terrestrial orchids and carnivorous plants. Louisiana has more Native American tribes than any other southern state, including four that are federally recognized, ten that are state recognized, and four that have not received recognition.
Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory
By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer