Red Sea, Sinai Peninsula
05 March 2019
UN World Wildlife Day
World Wildlife Day, on 3 March, reminds us of the signing of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
It has become the most important global, annual event dedicated to the conservation of wildlife. This year, the event focuses on UN SDG 14 – the sustainable use of our planet's oceans, seas and marine resources.
The Red Sea is a rich and diverse ecosystem, supporting over 1200 species of fish, in part due to the 2000 kilometers of coral reefs along its coast. It features on the WWF's Global 200 list of priority ecoregions for conservation.
This 100 m image of the northern half of the Red Sea, highlights the coral reefs along the coast of the Saudi region Tabuk (east).
The wildlife and reefs make for attractive diving spots for tourists, like those visiting Ras Mohammad, the marine national park nearby Sharm El Sheikh, at the tip of the Sinai peninsula (north).
© ESA-BELSPO 2018, produced by VITO
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Latest EO Weekly Newsletter
22 March 2019 - Week 12/2019
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22 March 2019
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Bangkok's green lung
21 March 2019
Captured on 22 January 2019 by the Copernicus Sentinel-2B satellite, this true-colour image shows Thailand's most populous city Bangkok, and its 'Green Lung' Bang Kachao.
The UN International Day of Forests is held annually on 21 March. It raises awareness of the importance of all types of forest and the vital role they play in some of the biggest challenges we face today, such as addressing climate change, eliminating hunger and keeping urban and rural communities sustainable. As the global population is expected to climb to 8.5 billion by 2030, forests are more important than ever.
This year, the International Day of Forests put a particular focus on education, but also on making cities a greener, healthier and happier place to live. In cities, trees can help many urban challenges. They act as air filters by removing pollutants, reduce noise pollution, offer shade and provide an oasis of calm in an otherwise busy urban environment, for example.
While Bangkok, which is home to over eight million people, is an example of ongoing efforts being made to increase green spaces to improve city life, it also has a much-valued green haven, which can be seen in the centre of the image.
This horseshoe or lung-shaped, green oasis is Bang Kachao and is in the middle of the bustling city.
Rich in gardens, mangroves and agricultural fields, the 2000 hectares of land is a significant contrast to the vastness of the city's urban sprawl. Fighting Bangkok's traffic and air pollution, Bang Kachao's lush green forest provides the dense city, and the surrounding Samutprakan province, with a flow of fresh air.
The government-protected oasis of green is wrapped around the Chao Phraya River, which is seen flowing through the city of Bangkok before emptying into the Gulf of Thailand.
Lake Chad's shrinking waters
22 March 2019
The 22 March is World Water Day, which focuses on the importance of freshwater. The Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations aim to achieve a better and more sustainable future. Goal number six focuses on ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water for all by 2030. This image takes us over Lake Chad at the southern edge of the Sahara, where water supplies are dwindling.
This comparison shows Lake Chad imaged on 6 November 1984 by the US Landsat 5 satellite and on 31 October 2018 by the Copernicus Sentinel-2A satellite. The rapid decline of the lake's waters in just 34 years is clear to see.
Once one of Africa's largest lakes, Lake Chad has shrunk by around 90% since the 1960s. This receding water is down to a reduction of precipitation, induced by climate change, as well as development of modern irrigation systems for agriculture and the increasing human demand for freshwater.
Straddling the border of Chad, Niger, Cameroon and Nigeria, the lake is a major source of freshwater for millions of people in the area. It is also a source for irrigation, fishing and it was once rich in biodiversity.
As the lake continues to dry up, many farmers and herders move towards greener areas or move to larger cities to seek alternative work. Several attempts have been made to replenish these shrinking waters, however little progress has been achieved.
The borders of the lake's body are only partly visible in the most-recent image – as the majority of the shoreline is swamp and marsh. The Chari River, visible snaking its way towards Lake Chad at the bottom of the image, provides over 90% of the lake's waters. It flows from the Central African Republic following the Cameroon border from N'Djamena, where it joins with its main tributary the Logone River.
The demand for water is growing inexorably. Access to water is vital – not only for drinking, but also for agriculture, energy and sanitation. By providing measurements of water quality and detecting changes, the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission can support the sustainable management of water resources.
Land-cover dynamics unveiled
21 March 2019
Billions of image pixels recorded by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission have been used to generate a high-resolution map of land-cover dynamics across Earth's landmasses. This map also depicts the month of the peak of vegetation and gives new insight into land productivity.
Using three years' worth of optical data, the map can indicate the time of vegetation peak and variability of vegetation across seasons. Developed by GeoVille, an Austrian company specialised in the analysis of satellite data, this land-cover map dynamics map uses Copernicus Sentinel-2 archive data from 2015-18, and gives a complete picture of variations of vegetation. The map is displayed at a resolution of 20 m, however a 10 m version is available on request.
It can, for example, support experts working with land-cover classification and can serve as input for services in areas such as agriculture, forestry and land-degradation assessments.