Author Topic: Earth from space: image of the week  (Read 289582 times)

Offline jacqmans

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Re: Earth from space: image of the week
« Reply #540 on: 04/21/2023 08:46 am »
Earth from Space: Rome, Italy
21/04/2023

The historic centre of Rome, Italy’s capital city, is featured in this image captured on 28 March 2023.

Known as the Eternal City, Rome lies on the banks of the Tiber River, the third longest river in Italy. The Tiber can be seen snaking its way through the city. The colour of the river water, owing to the sandy and silty riverbed, is why the Tiber is sometimes known as the ‘blond river’.

A number of world-famous sites are visible in this image.

The distinctive oval shape of the Colosseum, the largest Roman amphitheatre ever built, stands out near the centre right of the image, on the east side of the river and adjacent to the ruins of the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill.

Below that is the elongated outline of the Circus Maximus, which was the largest chariot racetrack in ancient Rome. To the left on a bend in the river, is the boat-shaped Tiber Island, the only island in the urban part of the river.

Following the Tiber northwards, we find, to the east of the elliptical shape of Piazza Navona, the white open-topped dome of the Pantheon, which is over 43 metres in diameter.

A little further north on the other side of the river, we can see the sovereign state of Vatican City, with St. Peter’s Basilica and its famous square. The star-shaped Castel St. Angelo is also visible nearby. It was the tomb of Emperor Hadrian, but later served as a fortress.

As evident in the image, Rome has many green spaces: parks, historic villas and public gardens, together covering about 4000 hectares.

This image was acquired by the Pléiades Neo mission, a very high-resolution optical constellation.
Jacques :-)

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Re: Earth from space: image of the week
« Reply #541 on: 04/28/2023 09:19 am »
Earth from Space: Blooming California
28/04/2023

Captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission on 8 April 2023, this image shows Los Angeles and part of the hinterland in Southern California.

The sprawling metropolitan area of Los Angeles, the second most populated in the United States, can be seen in shades of grey in the lower part of the image.

The city of San Bernardino lies around 100 km east of Los Angeles. Several water bodies can be identified in dark blue to the south of San Bernardino, except for Lake Elsinore which appears light green in the bottom right of the image, most likely due to a high concentration of algae in the water.

At the northern city limits, the vegetated areas of the Angeles and San Bernardino National Forests are visible at the foothills of the San Gabriel and San Bernardino Mountains, which run across the centre of the image. Mount San Antonio, the highest peak at 3068 m, as well as the surrounding peaks are covered with snow.

The Mojave Desert dominates the upper part of the image. Centre-pivot irrigation fields stand out as circular green shapes, which contrast with the surrounding landscape. Most of them are concentrated in the top left of the image, near the cities of Lancaster and Palmdale.

After years of sustained drought, California has recently experienced record-breaking winter precipitation that triggered a flower ‘superbloom’ event in the area. 

Blooming fields are so large that they can also be spotted from space. The vibrant orange and yellow colours of poppies and wildflowers in bloom can be seen throughout the image, with the most noticeable in Antelope Valley, west of Lancaster, and in Walker Canyon, north of Lake Elsinore.
Jacques :-)

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Re: Earth from space: image of the week
« Reply #542 on: 05/05/2023 09:07 am »
Earth from Space: Farming the desert
05/05/2023

The Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission takes us over El Oued, in northeast Algeria, about 80 km west of the border with Tunisia.

Shown as a dark elongated area in the centre of the image, the town of El Oued lies around an oasis in the northern Sahara, in a region that is otherwise an endless sea of sand.

This false-colour image has been processed using the mission’s near-infrared channel to display vegetation in red, with irrigated vegetation shown in bright red and non-irrigated areas appearing in darker red tones. These vegetated areas stand out clearly in the surrounding gold sand dunes shaped by the wind.

Most of the agricultural fields in the image are circular, indicating that central-pivot irrigation systems are being used. A well, drilled in the centre of each circle, supplies water to rotating sprinklers that spray water in a circular pattern. Each of the circles is around 100 m in diameter. The main crops here include potatoes, onions and tomatoes.

Date palms are also very important for the local economy. They are typically grown using traditional methods inside irregular funnel-shaped fields in the sand. They do not need to be irrigated frequently and can be spotted in dark colours throughout the image, such as around El Oued and to the south of the town of Hassani Abdelkrim, northeast of El Oued.

While providing detailed information about Earth’s vegetation, Copernicus Sentinel-2 plays a key role in mapping differences in land cover to understand how it is used and to track changes over time, so useful for monitoring desertification. The mission also provides measurements of water quality and detects changes in water bodies, supporting sustainable water management – a valuable tool for arid areas where water is scarce.
Jacques :-)

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Re: Earth from space: image of the week
« Reply #543 on: 05/12/2023 11:28 am »
Earth from Space: Nishinoshima island, Japan
12/05/2023


This Copernicus Sentinel-2 image features the Japanese island of Nishinoshima, in the northwest Pacific Ocean.

One of the Ogasawara Islands, Nishinoshima is a small uninhabited volcanic island roughly 1000 km south of Tokyo. Volcanic activity along the western edge of the Pacific Ring of Fire gave rise to this island, which is in fact the tip of a submerged volcano.

Until 1974, only a part of the ridge of the otherwise submerged caldera was visible, and the island was about 700 m long and 200 m wide. Since then, Nishinoshima has experienced alternating periods of explosive activity and calm, but lava from various eruptions over the years has led to the island growing bigger.

This image was acquired in January 2021 and here the island is around 2.3 km in the north-south direction and 2 km in the east-west direction.

The yellowish discolouration of the water around the island is due to volcanic minerals, gas and seafloor sediment that is being stirred up by the volcanic activity. It stretches for about 10 km to the southeast, where ocean currents turn it into bright green swirls.

A plume of gas and steam can be seen rising from the volcano and drifting northeast over the Pacific Ocean. As the plume rises higher, the steam condenses and forms clouds.

Volcanic plumes are of particular concern to the airline industry because ash can contaminate oxygen supplies and damage jet engines. Atmospheric sensors on satellites can identify the gases and aerosols released by eruptions, quantify their wider environmental impact and can help provide early warnings to the aviation industry.
Jacques :-)

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Re: Earth from space: image of the week
« Reply #544 on: 05/19/2023 08:39 am »
Earth from Space: Oslo, Norway
19/05/2023

The Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission takes us over Oslo, Norway’s capital and largest city, and host of the 2023 Global Space Conference on Climate Change, taking place on 23–25 May.

In this false-colour image, Oslo can be seen in grey at the centre top, surrounded by vast dense forest visible in bright red.

Easily accessible from the city, the surrounding forest and hills are known as Oslomarka. It is a protected area, dedicated to nature, recreational activities and agriculture. The wider and most central part is Nordmarka, which offers many hiking trails in summer and skiing tracks in winter.

Oslo lies at the head of the inner Oslofjord, which, in the image, is dotted with ferries and cargo vessels. While the urban core of the city is on the mainland, Oslo also includes many islands within the fjord. These islands are popular holiday destinations, especially in summer.

Since this image was captured on 22 April 2023, the mountains northwest of Oslo are still dusted with snow. A number of water bodies, visible in various tones of blue and white throughout the image, appear to be frozen or covered by ice and snow.

In contrast, the waters of the Svelle and Øyeren lakes, on the right side of the image, appear in tones of green and beige. This is likely to be due to the presence of sediment in rivers draining into the lakes. Svelle and Øyeren are separated by the delta of the Glomma river, Norway’s longest, which flows from the northeast into the Øyeren lake and eventually enters Oslofjord further south.

False-colour images are used to reveal information that would otherwise be invisible to the human eye. Depending on the colour scheme chosen, different types of land cover can be detected. Copernicus Sentinel-2’s near-infrared channel was used to process this image which highlights vegetation in red.
Jacques :-)

Offline jacqmans

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Re: Earth from space: image of the week
« Reply #545 on: 05/26/2023 08:17 am »
Earth from Space: São Paulo, Brazil
26/05/2023

This radar image from Copernicus Sentinel-1 shows the city of São Paulo and part of the homonymous state in southeast Brazil.

While standard radar images are usually black and white, this composite image combines three separate radar acquisitions, each assigned to a specific colour, so that the resulting colours show changes in land and water occurred between acquisitions. Areas in grey depict little or no change.

The first image, captured on 1 December 2022, is assigned to the blue channel; the second, from 6 January 2023, to green; and the third, from 11 February 2023, to red.

Radar data are interpreted by studying the intensity of the backscattered radar signal.

Water surfaces reflect the radar signal away from the satellite which makes water bodies appear dark, such as the Billings reservoir visible near the southern outskirts of the city.

In certain water bodies, such as the Represa do Jaguari reservoir at the top of the image, the shores have different coloured outlines owing to the changing level of the water.

Urban areas appear white as cities reflect radar extremely well. The brightest areas in the image represent the most densely built.

São Paulo, the capital of São Paulo state, is visible as the large, bright area in the centre-left of the image. This huge sprawling metropolis has an area of nearly 1500 sq km and a population of over 10 million, making it the most populous city in South America.

São Paulo is situated on a plateau extending behind the Serra do Mar mountain range, which can be seen running along the Atlantic coast. São Paulo’s port, Santos, lies 50 km southeast of the city on the São Vicente Island, separated from the mainland by a tidal channel.

Ships heading to or leaving the port of Santos appear as shining, coloured dots off the coast. Their colours depend on the date the images were acquired. Changes in the water, caused by surface currents and waves, can be seen as different shades in the Atlantic Ocean.
Jacques :-)

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Re: Earth from space: image of the week
« Reply #546 on: 06/02/2023 08:52 am »
Earth from Space: Anchorage, Alaska
02/06/2023

From the Chugach Mountains on the right to the Cook Inlet on the left, this Copernicus Sentinel-2 image features the varied landscape surrounding Anchorage, the largest and most populous city in the state of Alaska in the United States.

Anchorage is visible in grey in the centre of the image. It lies in southcentral Alaska at the head of the Cook Inlet, between the Turnagain Arm stretching southeast and the Knik Arm stretching northeast. The sandy colour of waters illustrates how much sediment and debris are being transported into the inlet.

South of Anchorage, on the southern side of the Turnagain Arm, lies the Kenai Peninsula. The northwest of the peninsula is flat and dotted with numerous small lakes, while the east is home to the Kenai Mountains.

The snow-covered Chugach Mountains, which can be seen on the right of the image, hold the state’s largest concentration of glacial ice. When warm, wet air flows off the Pacific Ocean and meets the cool temperatures of this mountain range, some of the highest snowfall in Alaska is created.

The largest glacier visible in the image is Knik Glacier, an ice field snaking from the northern end of the Chugach Mountains. It measures about 40 km in length and over eight km across, making it one of the largest in southcentral Alaska.

Depending on the different concentrations of ice melting from the Chugach Mountains, glacial lakes and water bodies appear in various tones of cyan, light and dark blue.
Jacques :-)

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Re: Earth from space: image of the week
« Reply #547 on: 06/16/2023 08:35 am »
Earth from Space: Eastern Mediterranean
16/06/2023

Copernicus Sentinel-3’s wide view captures the eastern edge of the Mediterranean and surrounding countries.

This wide view includes Egypt to the south, and Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria to the east. Part of Saudi Arabia can be seen to the east of the Red Sea and Sudan to the west. To the north are the island of Cyprus and the south coast of Türkiye.

The greenish triangle of Egypt’s fertile Nile Delta contrasts with the surrounding bare desert. With less than 3% of Egypt's land suitable for agriculture, the delta is an important farming region. Cairo, Egypt’s capital, appears brown-grey at the bottom of the Delta.

The Nile River is clearly visible. Flowing some 6650 km, the Nile is the longest river in the world. This mighty river rises south of the equator and flows northwards through northeast Africa before draining into the Mediterranean Sea.

The Red Sea is prominent in the image. It is connected to the Mediterranean by the Suez Canal, one of the world’s most important waterways, providing a direct link between the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean.

The smaller body of water in the centre right of the image is the Dead Sea, the lowest point on the Earth's surface and ten times saltier than the open sea.

The light green area south of the Dead Sea is a large complex of evaporation ponds, which produce salt for the chemical industry and human consumption.
Jacques :-)

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Re: Earth from space: image of the week
« Reply #548 on: 06/23/2023 09:41 am »
Earth from Space: Tashkent, Uzbekistan
23/06/2023

The Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission takes us over Tashkent, the capital city of Uzbekistan.


Visible as the grey area in the top right of the image, Tashkent is the largest city in Central Asia. It lies in northeast Uzbekistan, near the border with Kazakhstan. The city is situated in the Chirchiq River valley.

Vast agricultural fields dominate the image, particularly at the bottom. Cotton is the chief crop in this region, but wheat, rice, jute, melons and vegetables are also grown.

The dark green body of water in the centre of the image is the Shardara Reservoir, an artificial lake located entirely within Kazakhstan. Along the edges of the lighter patch of cultivated land, visible south of the reservoir, runs the border between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

The lighter colours in the reservoir indicate the presence of sediment. The reservoir, which is used for irrigation, is the result of the Chardara dam – visible on the northwest bank. It is fed by the Syr Darya River, which enters the basin from southeast and flows northwest along the green strip of agricultural fields in the upper part of the image, within the surrounding desert.

West of the river lies the Kyzylkum Desert, the 15th largest desert in the world. The Aydar Lake is immediately south. It is part of the artificial Aydar-Arnasay system of lakes, which, covering a total area of 4000 sq km, constitutes the largest reservoir in Uzbekistan.

Jacques :-)

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Re: Earth from space: image of the week
« Reply #549 on: 06/30/2023 09:56 am »
Earth from Space: Southwest Netherlands
30/06/2023

Rotterdam and part of the Zeeland province in southwest Netherlands are featured in this radar image acquired by Copernicus Sentinel-1.

This multitemporal picture is a combination of three radar images, each assigned to a colour channel: red for the image acquired in August 2022, green for the second image taken in January 2023, and blue for the last image from June 2023.

The combined images, with their different colours, help identify changes that have occurred between the acquisitions. For example, the green means that the vegetation was particularly lush when the January image was acquired.

Parts that appear grey or white depict little or no change. Water surfaces usually appear dark or black.

The coloured dots in the black of the North Sea are ships. Their colours indicate when they were captured by the satellite, as noted above. The white dots on the left are offshore wind farms.

Rotterdam, the country’s second largest city after Amsterdam, can be seen as a grey area near the centre of the image, straddling the New Meuse River, visible as a black line. Rotterdam is Europe’s largest port and the gateway to some 450 million customers.

Other cities pictured include Utrecht northwest of Rotterdam and The Hague northeast of Rotterdam. Moving north along the coast lies the town of Noordwijk, which is home to ESTEC, ESA’s technical centre, where new missions are designed, their industrial development is managed and, in some cases, the spacecraft and instruments are tested.

The large body of water south of Rotterdam is Haringvliet. Haringvliet dam is visible as a white and green bridge closing the mouth of the river. The dam was constructed as part of the ‘Delta Plan’ – a number of dams, sluices, dikes and barriers to reinforce the coastline. Volkerak dam, also part of the plan, is visible in the image at the eastern end of Haringvliet.

The area featured at the bottom of the image is part of the province of Zeeland. It lies on a large river delta, formed by the confluence of the Schelde and Meuse rivers and consists of a complex system of islands, peninsulas and waterways, mostly below sea level and interconnected by the dams and bridges of the Delta Works.
Jacques :-)

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Re: Earth from space: image of the week
« Reply #550 on: 07/14/2023 08:26 am »
Earth from Space: Ethiopian painting
14/07/2023

Reminiscent of an artist’s pallet, this striking false-colour image captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission features Lake Abbe in northeast Ethiopia.

Visible as the large round dark area, Lake Abbe, also known as Lake Abhe, straddles the border of Ethiopia to the west and Djibouti to the east. The lake is 19 km wide and 17 km long and is extremely salty. It is dotted with clusters of steaming limestone chimneys and surrounded by large salt flats, visible in white, and rift volcanoes. The biggest volcano in the image is Mount Dama Ali, a dormant 25-km-wide shield volcano that rises on the northwest shore of the lake.

Lake Abbe and Lake Afambo, which is visible at the top of the image, are part of a chain of six connected salt lakes, fed by the Awash River – one of Ethiopia’s biggest rivers.

This image was acquired using Copernicus Sentinel-2’s near-infrared channel, which highlights vegetation in bright red, as shown in the top left along the Awash River. This type of band combination also helps to image algal blooms, which can be identified by the red stripes in the dark waters of Lake Abbe. The light blue colour on the west shore indicates sediment discharged into the lake.

Because of its dry, desert, almost lunar landscape and the steaming, sulphuric vents, Lake Abbe is considered one of the most inaccessible areas on Earth. Earth observation satellites are key in these cases as they are particularly relevant for monitoring remote regions such as this.
Jacques :-)

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Re: Earth from space: image of the week
« Reply #551 on: 07/24/2023 02:28 pm »
Rhodes wildfire forces thousands to flee
24/07/2023

Wildfires burning on the Greek island of Rhodes have forced the evacuation of thousands of people as flames have spread from the island’s mountainous region to the coast. The Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission captured this image of the ongoing blaze yesterday 23 July 2023.

The image has been processed by combining natural colour bands with shortwave-infrared information to highlight the fire front. The image shows the extent of the burned area (visible in shades of brown) in the central part of the island, with a preliminary estimate of 11 000 hectares lost at the time of acquisition.

Residents and tourists took refuge in schools and temporary shelters on Sunday, with many evacuated on private boats, as flames threatened coastal villages and holiday resorts.

In response to the fires, the Copernicus Emergency Mapping Service was activated. The service uses satellite observations to help civil protection authorities and, in cases of disaster, the international humanitarian community, respond to emergencies.

Air temperatures over the past week have exceeded 40°C in many parts of Greece. In addition to Rhodes, wildfires are also burning near Athens and on the island of Corfu.
Jacques :-)

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Re: Earth from space: image of the week
« Reply #552 on: 07/28/2023 08:58 am »
Earth from Space: Río de la Plata
28/07/2023

The Copernicus Sentinel-1 mission takes us over the Río de la Plata estuary between Argentina and Uruguay.

This image was created by combining three different radar images from July and November 2022 and March 2023. Each image has been assigned a colour: red, green and blue respectively. This technique is used to highlight changes between acquisitions and to monitor the vegetation growth.

In radar images, built up areas and human-made features are easy to identify as they usually appear as bright patches.

Río de la Plata, or River Plate, is an estuary formed by the Parana and Uruguay Rivers, both of which appear black in the image. The Parana threads through forested marshland to enter the Río de la Plata from the left, while the Uruguay flows roughly north–south to join the Río de la Plata from above. The course of the Uruguay River delineates the border between Uruguay (right) and Argentina.

At the point where the rivers meet, the Río de la Plata is 48-km wide and extends for 290 km before opening into the Atlantic Ocean. Several islands are visible at the head of the estuary, but more are being added as some 57 million cubic metres of sediment is transported every year from upstream by the rivers into the Río de la Plata.

The large conurbation of Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, is visible as a distinct white area on the southern bank of the Río de la Plata, with the smaller provincial capital of La Plata just to its east.

On the north side of the estuary, opposite to Buenos Aires, the smaller white area is the Uruguayan port of Colonia del Sacramento, which is surrounded by a colourful patchwork of agricultural fields. The different colours are down to the various crops and growth stages at the time of the satellite acquisitions.

Zooming in, clusters of coloured dots, which are ships present at the time of the different acquisitions, can be seen in the dark water of the estuary, mainly off the coasts of La Plata and Colonia del Sacramento.
Jacques :-)

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Re: Earth from space: image of the week
« Reply #553 on: 08/04/2023 08:02 am »
 Florida 31-07-2023
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Re: Earth from space: image of the week
« Reply #554 on: 09/22/2023 09:13 am »
Earth from Space: Scorched Rhodes
22/09/2023

This summer, Europe experienced a relentless heatwave, fuelling wildfires in several countries. This Copernicus Sentinel-1 image shows the burn scars left by fires on the Greek island of Rhodes.

Between 18 and 28 July 2023, wildfires broke out on Rhodes. Fierce blazes ravaged almost 18,000 hectares of land, destroyed buildings, trapped animals and led to a mass evacuation of thousands of tourists.

This image uses two Copernicus Sentinel-1 radar images, one from 12 July and one from 24 July, to show how the land changed between the two acquisitions.

Shades of grey indicate areas where little or no change occurred. Shades of red, mainly spreading from the mountainous region in the centre of the island to the southern coast, depict the extent of the burned area – this covers roughly 13,000 hectares.

The lake of Gadoura, visible in black in the centre of the island, was surrounded by the fires, as evident from red areas.

The capital town of Rhodes can be seen as a white area in the northeastern most tip of the island, while the outline of Rhodes International Airport stands out in black on the coast southwest of the town. The runways in black south of the airport are part of Rhodes Maritsa Airport.

With global temperatures rising and a surge of extreme weather events, disasters such as wildfires have notably increased around the world. Earth observing satellites like the Copernicus Sentinel missions offer an eye in the sky to carefully monitor and map these crisis situations at both regional and global scales, and provide valuable information for emergency response.
Jacques :-)

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Re: Earth from space: image of the week
« Reply #555 on: 10/20/2023 08:30 am »
Earth from Space: Panama Canal
20/10/2023

Like shining jewels in the water, ships passing through the Panama Canal, which cuts across Central America, have been captured in this Copernicus Sentinel-1 image.

Connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the 80 km-long Panama Canal is one of the greatest engineering projects of the last century.

Locks at either end are used to raise and lower the water level by as much as 26 metres: ships entering the canal are raised and then lowered to sea level as they exit. Under normal conditions, the canal sees up to 14,000 vessels pass every year, making it one of the busiest maritime passages in the world.

Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellites carry radar instruments to provide an all-weather, day-and-night supply of imagery of Earth’s surface, making it ideal to monitor ship traffic.

Here, hundreds of radar images acquired from 2020 to 2022 have been compressed into a single image. Separate colours have been assigned to each year to highlight differences: blue for images from 2020, green for 2021 and red for 2022. At either end of the canal, ships that are entering, exiting and waiting to pass through the waterway appear as dots of red, green and blue depending on the year.

While the trace of marine traffic is clear to see in channel, so too is traffic in Lake Gatun – the large, black jagged inland water body in the centre of the image.

Lake Gatun was created by damming the Chagres River to the north, where the river, which flows into the Caribbean Sea, can be seen as a black winding line. Water from the lake helps to keep the locks operational. However, this year Panama has been experiencing one of its driest seasons on record, significantly affecting the supply of freshwater needed to fill the locks.

In the last few months, this severe drought has forced the Panama Canal authority to gradually reduce the number of ships entering the canal from a 37 daily average to a maximum of 31 per day, which has impacted maritime traffic and the local and global economy.
Jacques :-)

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Re: Earth from space: image of the week
« Reply #556 on: 10/27/2023 08:49 am »
Earth from Space: Elephant Island
27/10/2023

This rare, almost cloud-free view of the remote Elephant Island in Antarctica was captured in February 2023 by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission.

Lying in the Southern Ocean about 250 km northeast off the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, Elephant Island is one of the outermost of the South Shetland Islands. It owes its name to both the sighting of elephant seals along its shores and its elephant-like shape, here the ‘trunk’ is partially covered by clouds.

This mountainous island is covered by ice. The highest peaks are Mount Pendragon, which reaches around 970 m, visible on the southern end, and, moving northeast, Mount Elder, which reaches around 945 m.

North of Mount Elder, the wide Endurance Glacier can be seen in the centre of the image. It is the main discharge glacier on the island and drains to the south and into the Weddel Sea. Thin sea ice, visible in light blue in front of the calving front, separates the glacier terminus from the open ocean waters.

The variations in the colour of the waters surrounding the island are due to sediment eroded by the flow of ice and carried by meltwater into the ocean. Small icebergs can be spotted, particularly off the western coast, as little white dots speckling the water. The white lines along the island coasts are the result of big waves crashing against the rocky steep cliffs.

Dramatic changes in Antarctica’s ice have become synonymous with the climate crisis. The continued observations from satellites are key to surveying the remote polar regions. Satellites can monitor the melting ice sheets caused by rising temperatures and the subsequent rising of sea levels, as well as the impact on global ocean currents caused by the increased influx of freshwater into ocean. This is paramount to improving our understanding of the Earth system and to providing evidence on the impact of climate change.
Jacques :-)

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Re: Earth from space: image of the week
« Reply #557 on: 11/03/2023 08:31 am »
Earth from Space: Lake Maracaibo
03/11/2023

The Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission takes us over Venezuela’s Lake Maracaibo, the largest natural body of water in South America.

The vase-shaped Lake Maracaibo extends about 200 km inland and is linked to the Gulf of Venezuela and the Caribbean Sea through a narrow straight, which looks like the ‘neck’ of the vase at the top of the image.

With an area of over 13,000 sq km, Lake Maracaibo is generally considered the largest lake in South America, although by some estimates it should be considered an inlet of the Caribbean Sea since much of its water is brought in by its direct connection to the ocean.

As a result, the water in the northern part of the lake is rather brackish, while the southern waters are fresh, owing to the many rivers that flow into the lake. The biggest, the Catatumbo River, can be seen entering the lake from southwest, where a large amount of sediment carried by the river appears as a yellowish plume.

The port of Maracaibo can be seen in light brown on the west side of the strait. After Caracas, Maracaibo is Venezuela’s second city and the country's oil capital.

Zooming in, the General Rafael Urdaneta Bridge can be spotted as a grey straight line connecting the city to the eastern side of the strait. Spanning eight kilometres, it is one of the longest bridges in the world. Moving south on the eastern side of the lake, is the city of Cabimas, another important centre for oil fields.
Maracaibo is one of the oldest lakes on Earth with major oil deposits underwater and around its shore. Its basin is one of the major oil-producing areas of the world, making up about two-thirds of Venezuela’s oil production.

Unfortunately, its once pristine waters have been heavily polluted: continuous leaks from oil pipes, along with sewage and river run-off, have caused the lake to become contaminated. Although nice to see from space, the emerald-green swirls in the lake waters, visible in this image captured in August 2023, denote runaway blooms of toxic cyanobacteria, or blue–green algae, which pose a serious threat to ecology and human health.
Jacques :-)

Offline jacqmans

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Re: Earth from space: image of the week
« Reply #558 on: 11/10/2023 12:46 pm »
Earth from Space: Autumn in Japan
10/11/2023

This image, from the Copernicus Sentinel-3 mission on 1 November 2023, captures the colours of autumn over the Japanese archipelago.

Japan is made up of thousands of islands stretching some 2500 km through the western Pacific Ocean. Almost all of the land area, however, is taken up by the country’s four main islands, three of which are pictured in this image. From north to south we see Honshu, the largest island extending in a northeast–southwest arc, Shikoku, just beneath the lower part of Honshu, and Kyushu at the bottom.

The image also shows how Japan is mainly mountainous and about 68% of the land area is covered by forest. Cooler temperatures and fewer daylight hours triggered the autumn foliage, which shows up here in shades of brown and red, particularly in forests in the upper part of the image. The colours depend on the various tree species, local weather, altitude and orientation of the slopes.

Urban areas and cultivated land stand out in sharp contrast in tones of grey. The largest area on the eastern coast of Honshu is Japan’s capital Tokyo. This metropolitan area – commonly known as Greater Tokyo – stretches around Tokyo Bay and is home to about 37 million people, making it the largest megacity in the world. Other urban areas, visible moving south along the Pacific coast of Honshu, are Nagoya and Osaka.

Honshu is also home to the country’s highest mountain Mount Fuji, a volcano that has been dormant since 1707. Its snow-capped summit can be spotted as a small white dot near the Pacific coast, about 100 km southwest of Tokyo.

Another volcano, visible with a plume of smoke pouring from its summit, is Sakurajima on the southern island of Kyushu. Formerly an island-volcano in the middle of Kagoshima Bay, it is now a peninsula after a powerful eruption in 1914 connected it with the Osumi Peninsula to the east.
Jacques :-)

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Re: Earth from space: image of the week
« Reply #559 on: 11/27/2023 09:10 am »
Earth from Space: Salty lakes
24/11/2023

The Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission captures the colourful waters of two salty lakes in East Africa: Lake Natron in northern Tanzania and Lake Magadi in southern Kenya.

Lake Natron, the large lake at the bottom of the image, is 56 km long. It is rather shallow, only reaching a depth of 3 m, although its depth varies during the year. Despite the lake being very salty in a region that suffers scorching temperatures, the lake basin is recognised as a Ramsar wetland of international importance. It is the only regular breeding area for lesser flamingos in East Africa. There can be as many as 2.5 million flamingos congregating on the lake, which also offers a habitat for thousands of other species of waterbird.

The smaller Lake Magadi, at the centre top, is located in a vast depression in an area of volcanic rock. No permanent river enters the lake, which is fed only by surface runoff when it rains. Like Natron, Magadi has a notably high salt content – in some places the salt is up to 40 m thick – and it’s one of the few places on Earth where the mineral trona forms naturally. Trona is used for glass manufacturing, fabric dyeing and paper production.

This image was acquired on 12 February 2023 during the short dry season, immediately before the main rainy season that begins in March. Owing to algae that thrive on the salt, both lakes are naturally red or pink, especially during the dry season when water evaporates and the salts become more concentrated. Here, however, the colours are because the image processing included Sentinel-2’s near-infrared channel, which helps to reveal different information than what is yielded in a natural colour image.

While heavy shades of red highlight vegetated areas and dominate this false-colour image, the seasonal flowering of algae in the lakes appears green. The bright white and blue areas along the shores depict a mixture of sand, salt and mud flats. Salt crusts, resulting from evaporation caused by high temperatures, can be spotted as white dots speckling the waters.
Jacques :-)

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