California has seen some heavy rains recently after years of drought, filling many of the state’s reservoirs. The rising waters are evident in this radar image from the Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellite mission over part of the San Joaquin Valley.
The three water bodies pictured here are Lake Kawhea in the upper right, Bravo Lake to its left and Lake Success in the lower right. This image was created by combining two scans from Sentinel-1’s radar on 15 December and 26 January, and assigning each scan a colour. Combined, the colours reveal changes, such as the red colouring in the reservoirs showing the water level increase.
Officials have begun to release water from Lake Success as heavy rains have nearly filled it to capacity, and the outflow is sometimes exceeding the inflow in these days.
The problem of too much water is in stark contrast from the situation in previous years, when drought led to water shutoffs and cutoffs, severely hindering yields in the San Joaquin Valley – a major agricultural region. Major crops include grapes, cotton, nuts and fruits, with productivity relying on irrigation from surface water diversions and groundwater pumping from wells.
Agricultural structures dominate this radar composite image. Like the reservoirs, colours reveal changes between December and January such as vegetation growth or harvests.
Along the right side of the image, we can see the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains.
This image is also featured on the Earth from Space video programme.