01/05/2018, Southern Alps, New Zealand In this May 2018 image, PROBA-V glanced at the snow-capped mountains of the Southern Alps, stretching over 500 km along New-Zealand’s South Island.
With half a million tourists visiting the 23 peaks over 3000 m and impressive glaciers every year, the many hydropower stations built since the 1930s and the supply of freshwater, the economic value is evident.
Ecologically, the mountains are home to 550 endemic species of plants above the treeline, the colourful kea and the elusive rock wren, but also five national parks that are part of a continuous tract of protected lands along the entire length of the island.
Culturally, the high peaks are places of awe and spiritual presence for Māori tribes and an inspiration to photographers, painters and authors.
Remembering this importance and the vulnerability of mountains in the world, is precisely what the United Nations’ International Mountain Day (11 December) is all about.
30/01/2018, Uttarakhand, India This year’s World Wildlife Day, on March 3rd, is themed around big cats, as predators under threat deserving international protection. The high altitude valleys that connect the northern states of India with the Tibetan plateau, are home to vulnerable populations of snow leopards and bears, while endangered tigers live in reserves at the foothills of the Himalayans.
This week’s PROBA-V 100 m image nicely visualizes a part of Uttarakhand state, India (southwest) and the valleys through the rugged Himalayan mountains.
Snow leopards live in the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and national park of Nanda Devi and the Valley of Flowers, located in the valley in the southeast of the image. The park lies at an altitude over 3500m and is surrounded by mountain peaks between 6000 m and 7500 m high.
The glacial valleys are of particular value to mankind as well, as they are the source of mighty rivers such as the Ganges, providing water to millions.
21/01/2018, Pyeongchang, South Korea With the 2018 edition of the Winter Olympic Games and Winter Paralympics, South Korea hosts its second Olympics after the Summer Games of Seoul back in 1988.
In late October, the Olympic torch set of on its journey from Greece, reaching South Korea on November 1. There, it is relayed by 7,500 torch bearers, representing the country’s 75 million population, to reach the opening ceremony on February 9. By adding four new disciplines, the international event will be the first Winter Games to extend over 100 medals, spread across 15 sports.
This 300 m false-colour scene was captured by PROBA-V just two weeks before the start, on January 21st. It shows the northern part of the country, highlighting the mountains as a white network against the red tones of the vegetation.
, the Andes, Chile - Argentina The ocean coastline and Chile in the west, Argentina in the east and the snow-capped Andes in the middle make for a colourful and contrast-rich wintertime scene, captured by PROBA-V in August last year. Particularly striking are the narrow valeys and canyons carved out of the mountains by rivers like Elqui (centre of the image) and Huasco (north) that flow westward towards the Pacific.
The original name for Huasco river and its fruitful valley, that is nicknamed the Garden of Atacama, is likely derived from Quichua to mean “narrow valley through which water flows” or “gold river”, reminescant of the gold mining in ancient times. On the map, Rio Huasco is formed by Rio El Tránsito and Rio del Carmen, previously known as “river of the naturals” and “river of the Spanish” respectively. The valley of Rio Elqui, on the other hand, is well-known for the production of wine.
13/07/2017, Atlas Mountains, Morocco The High Atlas mountain range (bright red in this mid July image) in Morocco stretches from the coast of the Atlantic in the west to a plateau on the border with Algeria. Jbel Toubkal is the highest point (4167 m) and is visible from the Ochre City (Marrakesh), the fourth largest city in the country.
In darker tones, the Anti-Atlas mountains are shown, nicely bissected by the Draa River valey (reddish line), flowing southward from Ouarzazate city and leading into the Sahara desert. The famous motion picture Lawrence of Arabia was largely filmed in this city in the 1960s.
This berber heartland is a landscape of extremes, with clear basins (dark blue) and running water among vast dry and barren land with rocky outcrops.
By contrast, the higher and less steap northern parts of the High Atlas are commonly used for winter sports.
17/01/2017, Face of Morocco Along the Moroccan coast, shielded from the Sahara by the dark-toned High Atlas range in the north and the Anti-Atlas or Lesser Atlas on the southside, PROBA-V shows us the fertile lands (red) that surround the Sous River. At the mouth of the river, we find the neighbouring cities of Agadir, Inezgane on the north bank and Aït Melloul on the south bank, shown in green.
After Agadir’s destruction by earthquakes in 1960, it was completely rebuilt and has become the country’s largest seaside resort, thanks to its year-round mild climate. In contrast, the other cities are more resemblant of the Berber tradition, with the characteristic souks, jewellery and fruit and vegetable market.
Agadir city’s full native name can be translated as the ‘fortress of the cape’, hinting at the nearby Cape Ghir to its northwest (resembling a nosetip). The name of Inezgane, on the other hand, might remind us of the caves in the area.
01/07/2016, Ural Mountains, Russia The 100 m false-colour image of 16 july 2016 shows the Ural Mountains or simply the Urals. A mountain range that runs approximately from north to south through western Russia, from the coast of the Arctic Ocean to the Ural River and northwestern Kazakhstan. The mountain range forms part of the conventional boundary between the continents of Europe and Asia.
They have rich resources, including metal ores, coal, precious and semi-precious stones. Its highest peak is Mount Narodnaya, approximately 1,895 m.
14/02/2017, Norway, Europe The PROBA-V 100 m image of 14 February 2017 shows large fjords and their sharp contrast with the surrounding snow-covered land area in southern Norway. From South to North one can see the Bokna-, Hardanger-, and Sognefjorden.
The white-textured area in the middle part is the Hardangervidda National Park, an extensive plateau at ~1,200 m altitude, with the wild reindeer as the most significant animal.
30/03/2015, Flinders Ranges, Australia This week's PROBA-V 100 m false-colour image, shows us the northern part of the rugged, weathered peaks and rocky gorges of the Flinders Ranges, the largest mountain range in the South Australian Outback.
The high plateau of the Gammon Ranges on the eastern side and the alternating hills and ridges, often with a gentle slope on one side and steep slope on the other (cuesta landforms), make for a dramatic and beautiful landscape.
The region has a semi-arid climate with hot dry summers and cool winters. It's a place rich in Aboriginal history and home to a vast array of wildlife such as kangaroos, parrots, emus and snakes. The flora is well adapted to this environment, with species such as cypress-pine, black oak and mallee, a low-growing, bush-like eucalyptus that is common in Australia.
08-11/2016, The Alps As the tops of the Alps are more buried in snow, Europe prepares for winter and the end of the year, a time to look back, reminisce and look forward with hope and good intentions.
27/10/2016, Mount Everest, Nepal-Tibet PROBA-V takes us to the Himalayans, on the brink of Tibetan plateau (north) and Nepal. Mount Everest, the tallest mountain of the world with nearly 8850 m, is shown in white along with a few of its 8000+ meter neighbours, including Kangchenjunga (8586 m), the third tallest mountain of the world, to the east of Everest. The Himalayans, which can be translated from Sanskrit as “home or shelter in the snow”, are the source of many major rivers in Asia.
06/06/2016, Talampaya National Park, Argentina The Talampaya National Park is located between the Andes mountains and the Sierras Pampaneas at a height of about 1,500 m and extents over 2,150 km2. Together with the adjoining Ischigualasto Provincial Park, the area is part of UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Due to its location in the Andes mountains’ rain shadow, the climate is warm and dry, with yearly rainfall amounts below 50 mm and temperatures exceeding 35oC during summer.
The Park is known for its coloured canyons that formed due to erosion processes of the Talampaya River and for the paleontological sites containing fossilised animal and plant species that give important insights in the biological evolution of the Triassic Period (about 250 – 200 million years ago).
The image of 6 June 2016 shows the Park in the central to lower part, with the Talampaya River running from the upper-left to the central right part. The rectangular red patches in the right part denote the Valle de la Puerta olive and grape area.
21/03/2015, Flinders Range National park, Australia The 100 m false-colour image of 21 March 2015 shows us the Flinders Ranges, the largest mountain range in South Australia, which starts about 200 km north of Adelaide. The discontinuous ranges stretch for over 430 km from Port Pirie to Lake Callabonna. Its most characteristic landmark is Wilpena Pound, a large, sickle-shaped, natural amphitheatre that covers 80 km² and contains the range's highest peak, St Mary Peak - 1,171 m that adjoins the Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park. The northern ranges are protected by the Arkaroola Protection Area and the Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges National Park. The southern ranges are notable for the Pichi Richi scenic railway and Mount Remarkable National Park. Lake Torrens (an ephemeral salt lake) is visible at the left of the image, at the right Lake Frome, an endorheic lake.
27/04/2015, Sierra Nevada mountain range, USA The 100 m false-colour image of 27 april 2015 shows us part of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in the Western United States. The Sierra Nevada is part of the American Cordillera, a chain of mountain ranges that consists of an almost continuous sequence of mountain ranges that form the western "backbone" of North America, Central America, South America and Antarctica. The range is drained on its north-west slopes by the Sacramento River and to the west-southwest by the San Joaquin River. To the east, the melting snow of the mountains forms many small rivers that flow out into the Great Basin of Nevada and eastern California. None of the east-side rivers reach the sea; however, many of the streams from Mono Lake southwards (upper part of the image) are diverted into the Los Angeles Aqueduct and their water shipped to Southern California.
06/03/2015, The Alps in 3D The image presented is a 3D composite of PROBA-V 100 m S5 images and the Global Land Survey Digital Elevation Model (NASA/USGS). It shows the Alps as virtually viewed from the southeast, with a clear sight on the steep southern slopes. The vertical axis is stretched by a factor of 70.
14/06/2015, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania The 100 m false-color image of 14 june 2015 shows the Kilimanjaro enveloped in clouds to the south and north. The gradual decrease in vegetation can be seen by the colours changing from green to brown and finally light blue, the latter indicating the summit's glaciers.
23/04/2015, Himalaya, Nepal The false-colour 300 m image of 23 April 2015 shows from top to bottom the Tibetan plateau, the Himalayan mountains, and the subtropical lowland of southern Nepal and northern India. Further, in the lower-left part, the upstream Ganges river and some tributaries are visible.
31/07/2014, Drakensberg Park, South Africa The 100 m image of 31 July 2014 shows the Drakensberg Park, with the dark parts at the right of the image being shadows casted by mountain ridges. The upper left part shows the Malibamat's River in Lesotho.
11/03/2015, Death Valley, USA This 100 m false-colour composite of 11 March 2015 shows the Death Valley National Park in the middle of the image, with the Sequoia National Park and its snow-covered mountains located to the left. The scattered red spots in the lower and middle part indicate pivot irrigation fields.
05/05/2014, Argentina, Los Glaciares Los Glaciares National Park is a protected area in southern Argentina of ~7,300 km2, of which 30% is covered by glaciers. These glaciers are fed by a gigantic ice cap of the Andes mountains. The park is part of UNESCO’s World Heritage and is the habitat for ñandúes, guanaco, cougar, and gray fox.
The image shows the Park’s glaciers and the two major lakes, Lago Viedma (middle right) and Lago Argentina (lower right).
01/10/2014, Bhutan, South Asia Bhutan is located in the Himalayan mountains, between the Tibetan plateau, the Ganges delta, and the Bay of Bengal. The northern part of the country has mountain peaks higher than 7000 m, while the southern part is covered with valleys and various rivers that flow into the Brahmaputra.
24/11/2014, Mountains, Oman The sultanate of Oman is a country at the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. The central part of the country is covered by a vast desert plain, with the Al Hajar mountains (visible in the right part of the image) along the north and southeast coast. Oman has one of the hottest climates in the world, with temperatures reaching highs of 50 C or more regularly. Rain is scarce throughout most of the country, and only in the mountainous areas the yearly precipitation amounts to about 400 mm.