Les conséquences de la sécheresse de l'an dernier en Provence sont toujours visibles en 2018 sur les images de Sentinel-2


En rentrant de nos vacances dans les Alpes, nous avons passé une journée près des gorges du Verdon, le grand Canyon européen (je sais, il y a une différence d'échelle avec l'Américain).  Ceci dit, le paysage était superbe, comme vous pouvez le voir dans le panorama ci-dessous.

Panorama depuis le "point sublime" (et modeste)



Mais ne vous inquiétez pas, je ne vais pas vous parler ici de mes aventures estivales, je réserve cela pour les collègues à l'heure du repas, et je pense que les deux premiers de la semaine leur ont suffi.


Allons au fait, j'ai par la même occasion remarqué un grand nombre de pins desséchés, voire morts, ce qui m'a étonné parce que la région a été relativement humide ce printemps et début d'été. J'ai demandé au gens du coin, qui m'ont dit que c'est la sécheresse de l'été et l'automne 2017 en Provence qui en est la cause, particulièrement dans les zones où la roche est juste sous la surface et la profondeur du sol est très faible..

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Sentinel-2 sees a persistent degradation of forests near the Gorges du Verdon, after 2017 drought


Coming back from our stay in the Alps, we stayed one day near the Verdon Gorges, the European Grand Canyon (I know there is a difference in scale with the American one). Anyway, the landscape was gorgeous as you can seen on the panorama below.

Panorama from "Sublime point" (and modest)



But don't worry, I will not tell you about all my holidays adventures, I keep that for my close colleagues at lunch time, and it seems they have had enough of it with the two past days.


Let's go to the point, I also noticed quite a number of brown pine trees, which surprised me as the spring and summer had been rather wet for the region so far. I asked some locals who told me it was due to the severed drought that happened last year in Provence, which happened during summer and fall 2017 and damaged mainly the pine forest, particularly where the soil root zone is thin due to the presence of rock.

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Xe-Namnoy lake dam failure

[This post was written by Simon Gascoin and Sylvain Ferrant]

The Lao News Agency reported that the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy dam collapsed on Monday causing catastrophic flash floods. "The disaster has claimed several human lives [and] left hundreds of people missing," the agency reported. Construction of the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy dam began in 2013. Commercial operations were expected to begin in 2018. The animation below shows the water filling using a time series of Sentinel-1 images (IW orthorectifed VV only descending orbits).
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[MUSCATE news] Two new sites added to Sentinel-2 L2A production : Lebanon and Telangana (India)

After a very difficult period, and thanks to the installation of new improvements MUSCATE ground segment is back in shape, and margins have been found to add new sites.

Number of L2A products produced every day.


We have added two new zones where Sentinel-2 data are processed to Level 2A, which provide surface reflectance after atmospheric correction and a good quality cloud mask, tanks to MAJA processor. These two sites are Lebanon and Telangana region in India. The data are processed in near real time, since May 2018, and we will later on add the acquired before that date.
As usual, the data are available for download from https://theia.cnes.fr

Snow conditions in southern Africa ski resorts

When I present the potential of Sentinel-2 for snow science, I often tell that the spatial resolution of Sentinel-2 is sufficient to detect snow at the scale of the ski runs. Because a picture is worth a thousand words, here is the Sentinel-2 view of the only two ski resorts in southern Africa on July 11.

Sentinel-2 true color composites on 11 July 2018

The snow on these ski slopes is artificial but this region can get quite a lot of snow!

[Venµs news] Distribution of Level2A has started

You might have noticed the apparition of the first Venµs L2A products on Theia web site within the real time production, since last Friday.  A first global processing will start this summer, to provide you with the data acquired from November until now. There will be probably further reprocessings to benefit from the fine tuning of all the parameters and to propagate the further evolution of Level 1 improvement.

Even if it took us a few months to check the software and set the parameters up, what took us very long... was waiting for the level 1 validation and calibration phase. As you know, our colleagues from CNES did a great work to rescue the Venµs raw data which were full of surprises. They started to provide us with calibrated products in April only, and that's when we started the validation.


We were quite happy with the first results, as our processor MAJA did not show any bug, and the first images looked good.  But the first validation results were quite poor, with undetected thin clouds, with biases in the estimates of atmospheric properties (Aerosol, water vapour), as well as biases in reflectances (with a lot of negative values). We then started iterating tests on the parameters, and after several iterations we corrected several errors in the parameters (Venµs band numbers are different from those of Sentinel-2, and in a couple of cases, I forgot to change them:( ), and we tuned better all the thresholds. Among those, we had to change the calibration of band 910 band by 6% (this band is hard to calibrate in flight due to the presence of water vapour and is also affected by some newly discovered stray light).



The following table compares the results we had initially, on the left, and the results obtained after tuning the parameters, on the right. Of course, what we distribute is on the right ! We will of course need to increase the number of validation points, and we expect that the low level stray light in band 910 that was discovered during the commissioning phase and is not yet corrected will introduce some site related bias in the water vapour estimates. We will therefore need a reprocessing after this defect has been fixed, if the Level 1 team finds a way to fix it. And finally, we have still some issues to solve with the shadows mask which can often be quite poor.



Before tuning After Tuning

RGB Quicklook with cloud mask contour

RGB Quicklook with cloud mask contour

Water vapour in g/cm2 compared with Aeronet

Water vapour in g/cm2 compared with Aeronet

Aerosol Optical Thickness compared with Aeronet (sorry for the scale different from that on the right)

Aerosol Optical Thickness compared with Aeronet (sorry for the scale different from that on the left)

A mining company doing land art?

On March 9th, 2018, a tailings dam has failed at Cadia, a large open pit gold mine in Australia. Dave Petley for the AGU landslide blog collected aerial and satellite (Planet) images of the dam before and after the event. The Newcrest mining company also published a report on the failure.

Cadia mine embankment slump dimensions (source: Newcrest, Cadia Northern Tailings Facility Presentation and Webcast, 15 March 2018)

Cadia mine embankment slump dimensions (source: Newcrest, Cadia Northern Tailings Facility Presentation and Webcast, 15 March 2018)


The embankment slump is also clearly visible in Sentinel-2 imagery. Here I used a near-infrared compositing because it enhances the contrast between the vegetation (bright in the near-infrared) and the water (dark in the near-infrared).
When I did this animation, I was not expecting to see this progressive color change in the northern tailings -- as if someone was methodically painting the landscape?
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