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In addition to the known desert regions of the world there are an increasing number of areas in which the risk of desertification is growing. In these areas prediction techniques are of crucial importance to planning and aid authorities.

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Probing vegetation across the globe

10 July 2013

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The first global map of vegetation from the recently launched Proba-V has been unveiled, demonstrating that the minisatellite is on track to continue a 15-year legacy of global vegetation monitoring from space.

Proba-V is designed to map land cover and vegetation growth across the entire planet every two days. The data can also be used for day-by-day tracking of extreme weather, alerting authorities to crop failures, monitoring inland water resources and tracing the steady spread of deserts and deforestation.

Slightly larger than a washing machine, the miniature satellite was launched from French Guiana in the early hours of 7 May. Just over a week later, its Vegetation imager was switched on in time to capture its first image over France's west coast along the Bay of Biscay.

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