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Envisat MERIS Europe mosaic

The cloud-free face of Europe in the summertime is shown by this mosaic of true-colour land images taken by the Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) instrument on board ESA's Envisat environmental satellite.

The image is a composite of 85 reduced and full resolution images acquired by MERIS in the summer of 2002, using three out of 15 MERIS spectral bands, taken from Envisat in polar orbit at an altitude of 800 km.

By representing the arithmetic average reflectivity, it displays the range of vegetation cover across Europe and North Africa's land surface -- including the striking green triangle of the Nile Delta, surrounded by arid desert.

Young graduate Ana SiliŪ Calzada, a member of the ESA training programme New Opportunities for Women, prepared this test of Level 3 product from raw Level 1 top-of-atmosphere data using the Envisat (A)ATSR and MERIS toolbox software algorithms available to ESA Principal Investigators (PIs).

"This image is really a demonstration of what can be done with the software tools that ESA provides," explained SiliŪ. "I basically put myself in the situation of the user to show how scientifically useful multi-temporal data can be generated. I think of it as a work in progress, since more detail can always be added."

The angle of the mosaic is due to the path of Envisat's polar orbit in relation to the Earth. This image was shown for the first time this week at the ESA stand at the 2003 Paris Air Show at Le Bourget.


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