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Natural Wonders of South Africa 6 – The Drakensberg

Landsat 8 image of the Drakensberg acquired 2016-08-10 with snow cover observable on the Lesotho side (toward the left of the image). Snow cover appears bright pink In the 564 false colour composite (R: Near Infrared, G: Shortwave Infrared 1, B: Red). This spectral combination is particularly useful for distinguishing snow cover from cloud cover.

The towering basalt peaks, buttresses, rock walls and steeples of the Drakensberg, on top of which rests the Lesotho plateau, soars over 3 Km for more than 200 Km. The region experiences a variety of weather – up to four times a day in summer, electric storms may arise and May through August are characterised with heavy snowfalls on its summits. The Maloti-Drakensberg Transfrontier Conservation Area was established to preserve some of the high mountain areas of the range. The Drakensberg area is home to 299 recorded bird species making up "37% of all non-marine avian species in southern Africa.

Image credits:
Produced at SANSA Earth Observation. Landsat imagery courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and U.S. Geological Survey.

Attachments:
Access this URL (http://www.sansa.org.za/images/eo/image-of-the-week/2016/image-of-the-week-2016-11-14_drakensberg_landsat8_564_wallpaper.jpg)Download[Wallpaper]2011 kB

SANSA PARTNERS WITH THE GAUTENG PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT

gp 2016 spot67In a ground breaking move to provide better and improved services to the people of Gauteng province, the Gauteng provincial government recently entered into a partnership with the South African National Space Agency.

Through this partnership, SANSA will provide Gauteng government with the Earth observation data for use in the public service to contribute to research, development and building capacity of the state to plan for improved service delivery.

ISRSE-37 Call for Papers

The South African National Space Agency, the International Centre for Remote Sensing of Environment (ICRSE) and the International Committee on Remote Sensing of Environment (ICORSE) take pleasure in issuing this call for papers for ISRSE-37 under the overarching theme of “Earth Observation for Development and Adaptation to a Changing World”.

Papers are sought on diverse applications of remote sensing to understand and sustainably manage the environment and natural resources in the light of global change. We encourage contributions along the full value chain of Earth Observation, from fundamental research on earth system processes to operational applications, innovative techniques and future missions, as well as international programmes.

The Symposium will be particularly, though not exclusively, organised along broad 14 thematic areas described below. The ISRSE-37 Technical Programme Committee will consider and evaluate all abstracts received for inclusion in oral or poster sessions.

Connect to the site using the link below:
http://events.sansa.org.za/isrse-37

View more details on ISRSE 37 2nd Call for Papers

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Natural Wonders of South Africa 5 – The Cederberg

SPOT6 natural colour imagery acquired 2015 showing the Cederberg mountains and wilderness area. The dominating characteristic of the area is sharply defined sandstone rock formations (Table Mountain group), often reddish in colour. This group of rocks contains bands of shale and in recent years a few important fossils have been discovered in these argillaceous layers. The fossils are of primitive fish and date back 450 million years to the Ordovician Period. In caves and overhangs throughout the area, San rock art can be found, evidence of the earliest human inhabitants. The area is also home to an amateur astronomical observatory, which regularly hosts open evenings for the public.

Image credits:

Produced at SANSA Earth Observation. SPOT 6 Copyright © 2013. All rights reserved.

Attachments:
Access this URL (http://www.sansa.org.za/images/eo/image-of-the-week/2016/image-of-the-week-2016-11-04-61102_cederburg_spot6_wallpaper.jpg)Download[Wallpaper]760 kB

SANSA intensifies processing and dissemination of Biophysical Parameters from Sentinel-2

Responding to the increased user demand of Essential Climate Variables (ECVs) and other important biophysical parameters from the recently launched Sentinel-2 satellite, SANSA has intensified its processing of Sentinel-2 data to meet these user demands. SANSA is confident that this work will contribute to the Global Climate Observing System's ECVs that are required to monitor current and historical environmental and climate linked phenomena.

Fraction of absorbed photosynthetically active radiation (FAPAR), Leaf area index (LAI), Above-ground biomass, Land Cover, and Snow cover among some the recognized ECVs that can be satellite derived. The enormous size of Sentinel-2 data and sheer complexities in image processing poses a number of challenges for users of this dataset.

To ease these challenges SANSA now produces a wide range of biophysical variables such as Leaf Area Index (LAI), Fraction of Absorbed Photosynthetically Active Radiation (FAPAR), Fraction of vegetation cover (COVER), Chlorophyll content in the leaf (CAB), Canopy Water Content (CW) and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI).

These vegetation variables are used as proxy indicators to assess vegetation condition as of plant healthy, vigor, biomass, stress and water content. Biophysical parameters are used extensively in crop and rangeland monitoring, drought assessment, botany and other ecological applications.

To date, SANSA has distributed biophysical parameters to a number of users that include the CSIR, Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries, University of Witwatersrand, Provincial Departments of Agriculture in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo. The animated image below shows some of the satellite biophysical products that SANSA is generating.

 

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