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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

This study was supported by Contract NASW-01001 between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Contract DG133R04C00009 between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Contract DG133F-04-CQ-0009 between the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Geological Survey. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the agencies that provided support for the project.

International Standard Book Number-13:978–0-309–10387–9

International Standard Book Number-10:0–309–10387–8

Library of Congress Control Number: 2007936350

Cover: A digitally enhanced image created from data acquired by a Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) operated by NOAA and built by NASA; by NASA’s Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) satellite; and by Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) instruments carried aboard NOAA’s Polar Orbiting Environmental Satellites (POES). These data were draped across a digital elevation model of Earth’s topography from the U.S. Geological Survey. Heavy vegetation is shown as green and sparse vegetation as yellow. The heights of mountains and depths of valleys have been exaggerated so that vertical relief is visible. The presence of the Moon in this image is an artistic addition; the lunar image was collected by GOES in September 1994 and has been magnified to about twice its relative size. The prominent storm raging off the west coast of North America is Hurricane Linda (1997). This image was created by Reto Stockli with the help of Alan Nelson, under the leadership of Fritz Hasler. A detailed description of how the image was generated is available at

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