Satellite eye on Earth: April 2013 – in pictures

Deforestation, fires, flooding and melting ice are among the images captured by European Space Agency and Nasa satellites last month

Photos: 1. Swirling patterns created by ploughs in the rolling hills of farmland in the northwest US. In this image, taken over Washington state, the diagonal line running next to the Touchet River is a road that connects the town of Prescott to the west to Waitsburg to the east Photograph: KARI/ESA
2. A nocturnal image of the area of Phoenix, Arizona, taken on 16 March. Like many large urban areas of the central and western US, the Phoenix metropolitan area is laid out along a regular grid of city blocks and streets. The image area includes parts of several cities in the metropolitan area including Phoenix proper (right), Glendale (centre), and Peoria (left) Photograph: ISS/Nasa
3. Springtime in the Bay of Biscay, off the coast of France, as in most places, is a season of abundant growth. This image, taken on 20 April, shows a phytoplankton bloom. The swirling colors indicate the presence of vast numbers of phytoplankton, tiny plant-like microorganisms that live in both fresh and salt water. Although these organisms live year-round in the Bay of Biscay, it is only when conditions are right that explosive blooms occur Photograph: Modis/Aqua/Nasa