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Orange County

15 December 2017

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The Sentinel-1 radar satellite mission takes us over Orange County and surrounding areas in the US state of California.

Two prominent geological features are visible here: the coastal plains of the Los Angeles Basin in the upper-central left, and the Santa Ana Mountains running from the upper left to the lower right.

A typical feature of Pacific Coast mountain ranges like Santa Ana is a moister western slope and drier eastern slope – reflected in this radar image by the more prominent colours on the left side of the mountain range. This is due to air masses from the Pacific bringing precipitation to the land, while the mountains force the clouds to rise and produce rain and block them from moving further east, causing a ‘rain shadow' and thus drier areas on the other side.

Three passes by Sentinel-1's radar from 21 December 2014, 2 January 2015 and 14 January 2015 were combined to create this image. Each image was assigned a colour – red, green and blue – and changes on the ground that occurred between passes appear as different colours.

Orange County

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Discover more about our planet with the Earth from Space video programme. Join ESA every Friday at 10:00 CEST for an 800 km-high tour with spectacular images from Earth-observing satellites.

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The Earth Watching project is an ESA/ESRIN service to help local authorities and to promote the benefits of remote sensing data during emergencies, sending images and articles to newspapers, magazines and TV stations.

The Earth Watching website features not only imagery of natural disasters, but also promotes various satellite remote sensing applications through images and articles. Some examples are shown in the special events part of the website.

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