With temperatures soaring and no rain to speak of, Europe is in the grip of a heatwave. As well as the havoc that wildfires have caused in countries such as the UK, Sweden and Greece, the current heat is scorching our land and vegetation. These two images from the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission show agricultural fields around the town of Slagelse in Zealand, Denmark. The image from July 2017 shows lush green fields, but as the image from this July shows, the heat and lack of rain has taken its toll on the health of the vegetation. This year’s summer weather means that the same comparison could be made for many other parts of Europe.
The two Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellites carry high-resolution multispectral optical imagers to monitor changes in vegetation. While the difference in plant health in these two images is clear to see, the mission offers measurements of leaf area index, leaf chlorophyll and leaf water content, which allow for a detailed assessment of plant health.
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.