1. Winter solstice

On 21 December was the Winter solstice, here viewed from Meteosat-9 at 06.00 UTC.

winter solstice

2. Copernicus Sentinel-3 gathers momentum

In November, Sentinel-3’s Sea and Land Surface Temperature Radiometer (SRAL) released the first data. The image displays the Greenland Sea from 15th June 2016, for SLSTR Level-1b channel S8 (10.8microns). The image shows the thermal signatures from sea-ice (blue / green) along-side the North-East coast (orange / yellow) of Greenland. The temperatures indicate areas without sea-ice close to the North-East Greenland coast.

Greenland Sea

3. OLCI products from Sentinel-3

On 20 October 2016, Sentinel-3 released its Ocean and Land Colour Instrument (OLCI) level-1B products.

Featuring Spain, Portugal and North Africa, this image shows the Strait of Gibraltar between the Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea. Swirls of sediment and algae in the seawater can be seen along the southwest coast of Spain and along the coast of Morocco. The instrument picks out Morocco’s dry desert, the snow-covered peaks of the Atlas Mountains and greener, vegetated northern areas of Spain.


4. Dust over the sea of Oman

On 21-22 November, a deep trough extending southwards to the Arabian/Persian Gulf,  associated with a mid-level low East of the Caspian Sea, induced northerly low-level winds from the Iran-Pakistan border region (Sistan-Balochistan). These winds lifted dust from the coastal areas and drove it out across the Sea of Oman, making it visible to both Meteosat and Sentinel-3A.


5. Ring of fire eclipse over Africa

On 1 September, a rare ‘ring-of-fire’ double eclipse occurred over Africa, Meteosat-10 captured the shadow as the satellite passed over the continent.


6. Blooms in the Baltic sea

Sentinel-3A’s ocean and land colour instrument (OLCI) captured the colour of the sea in the Baltic and North Sea cleared from influences by the atmosphere in July. OLCI allows biogeochemical measurements, such as concentration of chlorophyll, the photosynthetic pigment of phytoplankton (algae) and suspended sediments. In this scene, eddies are visible in the Baltic and filamentary structures west of the Danish coast. Both are formed by increased growing of algae, called algae blooms.

Algae blooms in the Baltic

7. Low cloud vortex over Morocco

On 10 July, a low cloud vortex was spotted off the northwest coast of Morocco. While low cloud vortices are not a rare occurrence in this area (in fact they are quite frequent in summer) this one was quite striking because it was an almost perfect circular shape. Terra, 10 July 2016, 11:05 UTC True Color RGB (zoomed in).

Morocco cloud vortex

8. Tropical cyclone Fantala

Fantala became a named Tropical Cyclone on 11 April with maximum winds of around 63 km/h (40 mph). By 18 April, the cyclone had intensified into a powerful Category 5 storm with maximum sustained winds of more than 280 km/h (175 mph). Tropical Cyclone Fantala showed a very clearly defined eye in this image, as the storm reached Category 5 level in mid-April.


9. California, Arizona and Mexico from Sentinel-3A

Acquired on 29 February 2016, just two weeks after launch, this is one of the first images from Sentinel-3A taken by the satellite’s Ocean and Land Colour Instrument. It features California, Arizona and Mexico. It also captures Los Angeles, which coincidently is where the International Ocean Colour Coordinating Group Meeting was taking place at that time.

California10. Hurricane Pali

On 11 January, Tropical Cyclone Pali became the earliest-forming hurricane in either the Central or northeastern Pacific. The image below is a Metop-B infrared image of Pali, taken on 12 January at 21.45 UTC. The image shows the cloud top temperatures, with the colder clouds shown in blue to red (coldest tops). The eye of the storm is seen just to the east of the coldest clouds.




Posted by Mara Dambour

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