ESA minisatellite Proba-V’s ongoing view shows the rapid regeneration of South American grasslands from wildfire burn scars.
The fertile Pampas, grasslands located in northern Argentina, Uruguay and southern Brazil, are frequently struck by wildfires. During the southern hemisphere summmer of 2016-2017 fires burnt across 30 000 sq. km in the La Pampa and Rio Negro provinces of Argentina.
Strong winds, high temperatures and dry conditions contributed to the devastation, but rain in late December helped firefighters regain control – although a few hotspots persisted in early January.
This animated pair of Proba-V images shows the pampas recovering from these wildfires. The first 100-m resolution image, acquired on 6 January 2017 shows burnt areas as brown/blackish patches, with some wildfire smoke plumes visible in blue. The second image, from 24 July 2017, reveals the recovery of these grasslands.
The greenish corridor below the recovering burn scars is farmland in the vicinity of the winding Rio Negro river itself.
Launched on 7 May 2013, Proba-V is a miniaturised ESA satellite tasked with a full-scale mission: to map land cover and vegetation growth across the entire planet every two days.
Its main camera’s continent-spanning 2250 km swath width collects light in the blue, red, near-infrared and mid-infrared wavebands at a 300 m pixel size, down to 100 m in its central field of view.
VITO Remote Sensing in Belgium processes and then distributes Proba-V data to users worldwide. An online image gallery highlights some of the mission’s most striking images so far, including views of storms, fires and deforestation.