The eastern region of the South African peninsula can be seen clearly here on this Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) image. In the southwest the mountains of Western Cape can be seen extending eastwards to the coastal cities of Port Elizabeth, which can just be seen through the clouds, and Durban. To the north is the state of Pretoria and the city of Johannesburg. July is winter in the southern hemisphere and snow can be seen on the mountains of Lesotho. In contrast are the yellow sands of the Kalahari Desert in the northwest of the image.
MERIS was originally designed for ocean-colour monitoring but the outstanding radiometric quality of its five cameras enables land observations as well. The MERIS Global Vegetation Index, an ESA-derived product, has been developed in order to identify and distinguish the various types of vegetation and forests on regional scales. It should be of great help to those involved in research fields such as: deforestation monitoring, forest inventory and carbon cycle related issues. It will be soon delivered to users all over the world together with the many other geophysical products focusing on key parameters of our biosphere. Ocean, land and atmosphere will be studied by MERIS and its measurements will help us to better understand the climatic and environmental changes of our planet.
Instrument: MEdium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS)
Date of Acquisition: 6 July 2002
Orbit number: 01821
Instrument features: Reduced Resolution image (1200-meter resolution)