Patagonian skies are not cloudy anymore

"The most usual weather in these latitudes is a fresh wind between north west and south west with a cloudy overcast sky" - Phillip Parker King, Sailing Directions for the Coasts of Eastern and Western Patagonia (1832).

 

Patagonia is a beautiful place to visit but campers know that the weather is extremely variable and the sky is often cloudy. This can be a problem for glaciologists, too, since they rely on optical satellite imagery to study glacier area changes over the last decades (mainly Landsat). Clear-sky optical images can also be used to determine glacier velocity, albedo, front variations, etc.
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Monitoring the snow cover in ski resorts using Sentinel-2

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We are preparing the distribution of maps of the snow cover extent made from the Sentinel-2 data for Theia. If the method used to detect the snow is based on well-proven concepts, spatial and temporal resolution of the snow maps will however quite unprecedented. Until now, maps of the snow cover extent were usually produced from MODIS observations at 500 m resolution, which is adapted to hydro-climatic studies to rather regional scales. Landsat data were actually little exploited by snow scientists because of their low repeatability. The deployment of Sentinel-2 mission (global coverage at 20 m resolution every 5 days) opens new perspectives for monitoring snow cover.
 
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Suivi de l'enneigement des stations de ski avec Sentinel-2

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Dans le cadre du pôle thématique Theia nous préparons la distribution de cartes d'enneigement établies à partir des images Sentinel-2. Si la méthode utilisée pour la détection du manteau neigeux se base sur des concepts bien éprouvés, la résolution spatio-temporelle des cartes d'enneigement sera en revanche tout à fait inédite. Jusqu'ici les cartes d'enneigement était généralement produites à partir des observations MODIS à 500 m de résolution ce qui permet de faire des études hydro-climatiques à des échelles plutôt régionales. Les données Landsat étaient finalement assez peu exploitées par les nivologues en raison de leur faible répétitivité. Le déploiement de la mission Sentinel-2 (couverture globale à 20 m de résolution tous les 5 jours) ouvre de nouvelles perspectives pour le suivi de l'enneigement.
 
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Wildfires in California spotted by Sentinel-2A

Wildfires were raging in California this summer. Let's see if we can spot some of them in Sentinel-2A images with the new Sentinel-Playground by Sinergise.

 

The combination of the SWIR and NIR bands of Sentinel-2 or Landsat enables to produce accurate maps of burnt areas. The SWIR band is sensitive to the water content in the soil and vegetation, while the NIR band is sensitive to the vegetation health (photosynthetic activity).

 

In addition, the radiance measured by a spaceborne sensor in the SWIR wavelengths increases if the surface is very hot (as taught us Prof. Planck in Hawaïï).

 

As a result, a simple color composite of bands SWIR/NIR/Red gives a stunning view of burnt areas and can highlight ongoing fire areas if the smoke is not too opaque.

 

In Coalinga, the Mineral Fire burnt nearly 3000 ha close to the city of Coalinga.

Mineral wildfire near Coalinga, Californa USA. Time series of Sentinel-2A images (RGB color composite of bands SWIR/NIR/Red = 12/8A/4)

 

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Sentinel-2 et Landsat-8 font équipe pour suivre la coulée de lave du volcan Kilauea

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Le volcan Kilauea à Hawaï est un des plus actifs au monde. Cela fait déjà plus de trente ans qu'il est entré en éruption, mais il a fait les gros titres récemment car ses coulées ont atteint l'océan Pacifique, agrandissant le territoire hawaïen de deux hectares d'un coup ! Voilà une technique efficace pour lutter contre la hausse du niveau de la mer...

Photo aérienne de la coulée de lave 61G au point d'entrée dans l'océan Pacifique le 19 août 2016. Crédit: U.S. Geological Survey Department of the Interior/USGS U.S. Geological Survey.

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Sentinel-2A and Landsat-8 team up to track Kilauea Volcano's lava flow

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Kilauea Volcano in the largest active volcano in Hawaii and one of the most active on Earth. It has been erupting for over 30 years now but hit the headlines recently because a large lava flow traveled up to the ocean, adding 2 brand new hectares to the Hawaiian Islands.

Aerial view of the 61G lava flow ocean entry on August 19, 2016. Credit: U.S. Geological Survey Department of the Interior/USGS U.S. Geological Survey.

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