Image: Copyright Contains modified Copernicus
Sentinel data 2016, processed by ESA
|| September 16: 2016 || ά.
Southern China’s Poyang Lake is the
largest freshwater lake in the country. Located in Jiangxi
province, this lake is an important habitat for migrating
Siberian cranes, many of which spend the winter there.
The lake is also home to the endangered finless porpoise, a
freshwater mammal known for its high level of intelligence.
Amid fears that it would soon become extinct, the porpoise
made headlines last year when the Chinese government moved
eight of them from Poyang Lake to two secure habitats in an
effort to increase the population over the coming years.
One study found that, without action, the current rate of
population decrease would likely mean extinction by 2025.
For the human population, Poyang is one of China’s most
important rice-producing regions, although local inhabitants
must contend with massive seasonal changes in water level.
Local scientists collaborating with ESA through the Dragon
programme have identified an overall drop in water level in
the lake over the last decade, but the El Niño weather
phenomenon earlier this year caused precipitation levels to
increase and water levels of the lake to rise.
Radar images from the Copernicus Sentinel-01 mission have
been used to monitor the evolution of the lake, including
this image which combines two radar scans from March 07 and
‽: 170916 ||
What Sentinel Saw: Iran
Released 29.07.2016 10:00 : Copyright
Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data 2016, processed
|| July 29: 2016 || ά. The Sentinel-2A satellite takes us
over to northeastern Iran, the second largest country in the
Middle East. A dryland area, most of Iran’s territory is
classified as arid and semi-arid, about half of which is
characterised by rangeland, barren land and mountains.
Visible in the centre of the image and at top left are
alluvial fans. These are formed when streams or rivers hit
plains and spread out. They represent the distinct pattern
of water runoff from the mountains, where the eroded soil,
with the help of rain, is carried from the mountain slopes
to lower lands.
At top left, resembling brush strokes in a painting,
seasonal accumulation of water and various salt minerals is
evident in greys and whites. Scattered throughout the image
are many agricultural plots, distinct in such an arid and
mountainous region, which also features various rocky
formations. At the far right, the city of Bajestan is
visible, with many agricultural fields around it. It is a
city with a population of some 11 000, with saffron and
pomegranate its most important products, grown in the
various plots on the left.
The shades of red indicate how sensitive the multispectral
instrument on Sentinel-2A is to differences in chlorophyll
content, providing key information on vegetation health.
Various towns or settlements are represented in greys
throughout the image.
This false-colour image, also featured on the Earth from
Space video programme, was captured by Sentinel-2A on
February 22, 2016. The satellite is the first in the
two-satellite Sentinel-2 mission for Europe’s Copernicus
programme, carrying a wide-swath high-resolution instrument
with 13 spectral bands, for a new perspective on our land
The Beautiful Forest
Where Roams the Royal Baangla Tiger
Shoondorbon, the Beautiful Forest,
literally, anglicised as Sundarbans, where the legendary
Royal Baangla Tiger,
Royal Bengal Tiger lives: Image Released 15.07.2016:
Copyright Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data 2016,
processed by ESA
|| July 15: 2016 || ά. The Sentinel-2A
satellite takes us over the very eastern part of the
Sundarbans, in Baangla, it is pronounced as Shoondorbon,
literally, the Beautiful Forest, where the legendary Royal
Baangla or Bengal Tiger lives, in Bangladesh, in this
natural-colour image. A region comprising southern
Bangladesh and a small part of the Indian state of Poshchim
Bongo or West Baangla or West Bengal, the whole area of the
Sundarbans incorporates some 10 000 sq km, consisting of
mangrove and swamp forests.
The region of the Sundarbans appears in
dark shades of green in this image, while the adjacent areas
in brighter colours are densely populated and dominated by
agriculture. Sundarbans is the world’s largest single chunk
of tidal halophytic mangrove forest. Generally, fresh water
is required for plants, but these mangrove forests can also
thrive in saline water.
This area lies on the Bay of Bengal, the
Baangla name is, Bongoposhaagor, literally, the Bay of
Bongo, the synonym for Baangla, the world’s largest
bay. A number of large rivers, including the Ganges, its
tributaries and various other rivers, all flow into its
waters, forming the Ganges–Brahmaputra Delta.
The erosional forces of the sea and wind along the coast
continuously mould the landscape, together with the huge
amounts of silt and other sediments, deposited in the
countless estuaries, visible in the water. Distinct
throughout the image, the network of these estuaries, tidal
rivers and creeks, criss-crossed by numerous channels,
enclose flat, densely forested, marshy islands and
Most of the delta is composed of alluvial soils made up of
fine sediment that settles to the bottom as river currents
slow in the estuary. The soil has large amounts of minerals
and nutrients, ideal for agriculture.
These fertile floodplains host jute, tea and rice – the
major crops grown in the Ganges Delta, visible as brighter
patches on the land areas in the right part of the image.
Fishing is also an important activity, and a major source of
food for many of the inhabitants of the various towns, which
we can see along the brighter areas.
The Sundarbans National Park, established in 1984 and a
designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a core region
within the Bengal Tiger Reserve. The almost extinct Bengal
tiger is the national animal of Bangladesh and is considered
the second largest tiger in the world.
Dasht-e Kavir Iran
Released 22/04/2016 10:05 am: Copyright
Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data , processed
23, 2016 ||
The swirling landscape of Iran’s salt desert,
Dasht-e Kavir, is reminiscent of an abstract painting in
this Sentinel-1 image.
With temperatures reaching about 50ºC in the summer, this
area sees little precipitation, but runoff from the
surrounding mountains creates seasonal lakes and marshes.
The high temperatures cause the water to evaporate, leaving
behind clays and sand soils with a high concentration of
The ‘brushstroke’ patterns are geological layers eroded
primarily by wind. Iran is one of the world’s most important
mineral producers. Earth-observing satellites are useful for
finding and monitoring natural resources like minerals.
Along the left side of the image we can see part of an area
known as the ‘devil’s dunes’ because it was believed to be
haunted by evil spirits. This belief likely originated from
its hostile conditions, and the early travellers who did
attempt to cross it probably never returned due to
starvation or dehydration.
This image combines three scans from Sentinel-1A’s radar on
21 January, 14 February and 9 March 2016. Changes between
the acquisitions appear in vibrant bright colours – such as
the blues, reds and greens we see primarily on the left half
of the image. These areas are salt lakes and the colours
show fluctuations in the amount of water present over time.