Witness the extravagant transformation of Dubai's desert landscape between 2000 and 2011.
To expand the possibilities for beachfront development, Dubai undertook a massive engineering project to create hundreds of artificial islands along its Persian Gulf coastline. Built from sand dredged from the sea floor, and protected from erosion by rock breakwaters, the islands are shaped in recognizable forms such as palm trees. As the islands grew, so did the city. In 2000, the area was nearly entirely undeveloped. By 2011, whole city blocks had sprung up. Offshore, the first palm-shaped island, Palm Jumeirah, reached completion. The collection of false-color satellite images below shows the growth of Dubai—one of the United Arab Emirates—between 2000 and 2011. Taken by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer on NASA's Terra satellite, each image is produced from visible and infrared light where bare desert is tan, plant-covered land is red, water is black and urban areas are silver.