The most prominent images of Earth from space in 2023

The most prominent images of Earth from space in 2023

The year 2023 will be upon us soon. The opportunity to get a little elevation and look at our Earth as it has been viewed by satellites over the months. Here are some of the most eye-catching images.

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It's incredibly complex. Of stark beauty. Maybe a little more as we gain height. Our land. Our only refuge. Yet it suffers under our blows. Images sent back by our satellites have shown this throughout the slowly bending year 2023.

In 2023, forest fires set the Blue Planet on fire

In Italy, Spain, Portugal, Algeria and even Canada. This summer again, smoke billowed from the forests. Northern Greece was the scene of the largest forest fire ever recorded in Europe! According to the European Forest Fire Information Service (EFFIS), nearly 175,000 hectares burned in the country in 2023. This summer's fires released about two million tons of carbon dioxide (CO).2). In Greece, the situation was worse only in 2007 and 2021. The Copernicus atmospheric monitoring service estimates that wildfires in 2023 were responsible for emitting at least 2,100 million tons of carbon dioxide worldwide.2 !

Various satellites witnessed these sad events throughout the past year.

2023, an incredibly hot year

China is currently experiencing its coldest December since 1951. But elsewhere in the world, millions of people have just experienced the warmest Christmas on record. In certain areas of our planet, the temperature has reached 25 degrees Celsius above normal. The interim report issued by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) confirms that 2023 will be the hottest year in modern times. The impact of human-caused global warming was amplified by the El Niño phenomenon that appeared last spring.

Satellites, especially those that capture temperatures on the Earth's surface, have sent us stunning images.

A look at the ice of Greenland and Antarctica

Satellites such as CryoSat or Copernicus Sentinel-1 measure changes in ice volumes, both in Antarctica and on the Greenland side. Records began in 1992, and since then, the polar ice caps have continued to lose ice. More than 7,500 billion tons!

But among the most exciting images to reach us from the poles this year is undoubtedly the formation of the massive iceberg A-81. An iceberg about 1,550 kilometers long2 Which broke off from the Bronte Ice Shelf, in Antarctica, at the end of November 2023. And it is satellites like Copernicus Sentinel-1 and its radar that allow us to watch this type of event.

In 2023, a record hole in the ozone layer

According to scientists' expectations, the hole in the ozone layer should be closed by approximately 2050. Meanwhile, it still experiences fairly large seasonal fluctuations. In September of this year 2023, the Copernicus Sentinel-5b satellite showed that it had reached an area estimated at about 26 million square kilometers, one of the largest areas ever observed. The cause was likely caused by the eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haapai volcano in January 2022, which pumped huge amounts of water vapor into the stratosphere.

Surprise sargassum

Sargassum is a brown algae. It floats on the surface of the ocean and is home to a good number of marine species. It also absorbs carbon dioxide2To convert it into organic carbon. But when they accumulate in large numbers, they emit toxins such as hydrogen sulfide.

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The largest Sargassum seaweed sea in the world is 8,850 kilometers long

By 2023, satellite images revealed a spread of more than 8,800 km, from the coast of Africa to the Gulf of Mexico. About 10 tons of Sargassum can be seen from space. Scientists expected it to reach a record level, but the sargassum disappeared before that without a clear reason.

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