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Summer brown

31 August 2018

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With much of Europe recently subjected to a prolonged heatwave and lack of rain, brown was certainly the trending colour this summer. While cooler air and rain have now returned to northwest Europe, turning some of the landscape back to the more usual hues of green, these satellite images show how the hot dry weather took its toll on vegetation. And, as it is World Water Week, these images serve as a reminder of how important water is, even in this part of the world.

These images from the Copernicus Sentinel-2 and Sentinel-3 missions show how this summer's weather affected the landscape in the UK, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Germany and Luxembourg. Farmers from Ireland to the Baltics lost crops and struggled to feed livestock as a result of the unusual weather. Wildfires broke out in the UK, Sweden and Germany, for example, leading to evacuations. The moorland fire near Manchester in the UK has caused lasting damage where seedbeds will take years to recover and also destroyed wildlife habitats.

The two Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellites carry high-resolution multispectral optical imagers to monitor changes in vegetation. The mission offers measurements of leaf area index, leaf chlorophyll and leaf water content, which allow for a detailed assessment of plant health. The mission can be used for emergency mapping and for assessing damage such as that caused by fire. The Copernicus Sentinel-3 mission carries multiple instruments and as well as delivering key information to monitor the oceans, it can also be used to monitor the health of our land.

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Spotlight on sea-level rise

25 September 2018

Scientists are gathering in the Azores this week to share findings on how satellite has revealed changes in the height of the sea, ice, inland bodies of water and more.

Regional sea-level trends

Of concern to all is the fact that global sea level has not only been rising steadily over the last 25 years, but recently it is rising at a much faster rate.