The sunny south of Spain offers more to the national economy than simply tourism. Over the past 50 years, the small coastal plain (campo), some 30 kilometers southwest of the city of Almería, has been intensively developed for agriculture. An estimated 20,000 hecatres of extra-early market produce is grown in greenhouses in the Campo de Dalías, and it accounts for over $1.5 billion in economic activity. The area has a dry, mild, Mediterranean climate and is further sheltered on the north by the Sierra de Gador mountains. With just slightly more than 200 millimeters of annual precipitation to support crop growth, the area also relies on groundwater fed by small stream aquifers from the mountains to the north.
This image was taken with a digital camera by the crew of the International Space Station near midday in early February. Note the dense, bright pattern of thousands of greenhouses extending from the shoreline right up to the base of the mountains and even into some of the smaller valleys. Salt pan operations can also be seen in the long coastal lagoons.
Astronaut photograph ISS008-E-14686 was taken February 7, 2004, with a Kodak DCS760 digital camera equipped with an 400-mm lens, and is provided by the Earth Observations Laboratory, Johnson Space Center. The International Space Station Program supports the laboratory to help astronauts take pictures of Earth that will be of the greatest value to scientists and the public, and to make those images freely available on the Internet. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth.