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.


Remote Sensing Workshop to KZN COGTA


SANSA conducted a two day training workshop on "Introduction to Remote Sensing" at the Durban offices of the KwaZulu Natal Cooperative Governance Traditional Affairs (COGTA) on the 20-21 October 2016.

The workshop was attended by eighteen participants from Durban and Pietermaritzburg COGTA offices. The workshop was part of SANSA's initiative to build capacity and develop geo-informatics and remote sensing skills within Government departments.

The COGTA informatics department is one of the recipients of the annual national SPOT imagery mosaic product developed by SANSA. The knowledge acquired at the workshop will help the participants to make the most of satellite data in addition to the widely used backdrop application.


Natural Wonders of South Africa 4 – Blyde River Canyon

SPOT6 image acquired 2015-04-30 showing the Blyde River Canyon, South Africa’s only true canyon. The canyon follows the Blyde River as it cuts through the massive escarpment and plummets over 1000-metres from the highlands of the Drakensberg to the Lowveld below. The dramatic landscape draws countless visitors each year.

Image credits:

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

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Natural Wonders of South Africa 3 – Paarl Rock

SPOT-6 satellite image of Paarl Rock acquired 2015-04-26. The two domes observed were formed about 600 million years ago, embedded in a mass of rock that gradually eroded away, leaving the tops of the boulders exposed. One hundred and fifty million years later, the surface was covered over by sedimentary rock. Gradual weathering led to the two rounded boulders being exposed. The natural phenomena today distinguishes the town of Paarl at the foot of the mountain.

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

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Natural Wonders of South Africa 2 – Langebaan Lagoon

 Langebaan Lagoon was formed by the rising and falling of sea levels during pre-historic times. Unlike most lagoons which form at a point where fresh water rivers enter the sea, Langebaan Lagoon is purely a salt water lagoon. It extends in a finger of water away from Saldanha Bay, its 16 Km’s controlled by tidal currents, tailing off into salt marshes and a cluster of salt pans, rich with water bird life. Saldaha Bay is home to West Coast Fossil Park, and the most prolific source of late tertiary vertebrate fossils in the world.

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