This year’s heatwave continues to sweep across Europe, with wildfires reported across the continent, as the current heat scorches land and vegetation in countries such as the UK, Sweden and Greece. These two images from the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission show agricultural fields and land around the capital of Germany, Berlin. Although some of this land is used to cultivate wheat, among other crops, and appears in brown as harvested fields (ripe wheat), other areas, such as those close to Berlin Tegel Airport and Berlin Tempelhof Airport are not agricultural. Nevertheless, we see significant changes in these areas, with a clear shift from the lush green palette of July 2017 to the multitude of browns shown in the image from July 2018.
The heat and lack of rain has ravaged vegetation across the continent in recent weeks. Germany has also suffered from ferocious forest fires, including in Potsdam, which lies just under 30 km from the capital, in the Brandenburg region.
The two Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellites carry high-resolution multispectral optical imagers to monitor changes in vegetation. As well as monitoring plant growth and health, Sentinel-2 can be used to map changes in land cover and to monitor the world’s forests.
The Copernicus Sentinel-3 mission also offers a wider view of northern Germany, Denmark and Sweden, showing the stark difference between vegetation on 30 June 2018 and 19 July 2018: European drought.