Image: Corsican waters from space

January 30, 2015, European Space Agency
Credit: USGS/ESA

The Mediterranean Sea's most mountainous island, Corsica, dominates this image from the Landsat-8 satellite.

About 40% of the island's surface area is dedicated to nature reserves, and its mountains are a popular destination for hiking. For beachgoers, the island boasts over 1000 km of coastline.

Near the northeastern coast we can see the island's largest coastal lagoon, the Etang de Biguglia. This has been noted for its support of numerous breeding and wintering waterbirds, as well as the vulnerable Hermann's tortoise and long-fingered bat.

This lagoon is one of the over 2000 sites worldwide considered to be wetlands of international importance by the Ramsar Convention, an intergovernmental treaty for the sustainable use of wetlands. World Wetlands Day is observed on 2 February, the anniversary of the signing of the Convention.

ESA has been assisting the Ramsar Convention for a decade through the GlobWetland project, which provides satellite data to be used to monitor these precious resources. The next phase of the project, called GlobWetland Africa, will collaborate closely with ESA's TIGER initiative, which trains African water authorities and researchers in exploiting and Earth observation technology for sustainable water resource management.

The Etang de Biguglia is not the island's only Ramsar site: further inland in the central-north part of the island is an active raised bog, home to a number of protected bat, reptile, bird and amphibian species.

Other Ramsar sites on the island are two more coastal lagoons about halfway down the east coast, and a series of temporary pools in the south. These pools in the semi-arid granitic landscape are an uncommon geomorphological phenomenon in the region supporting a diversity of rare species.

Over the water in the upper-left section of the image we can see condensation trails, or 'contrails', from aircraft or ships.

Contrails form when exhaust particles act as nuclei around which water condenses, resulting in elongated cloud-like trails that can last anywhere from minutes to hours. They can also form persistent artificial cirrus clouds that can last for days or weeks, and can affect Earth's climate by trapping heat in our atmosphere.

This image was captured by Landsat-8 on 29 August 2014.

Explore further: Image: Zambezi River, Zambia from orbit

Related Stories

Value of satellites recognized for conserving wetlands

November 14, 2008

Wetlands contribute to our lives in remarkable ways by providing food and water, controlling floods, protecting against storms and supporting biodiversity, yet they are experiencing loss and degradation on a massive scale.

Connection between health of wetlands and humans in focus

February 1, 2008

Despite the vital role wetlands play in society, they remain among the most threatened ecosystems on Earth. To emphasise the direct and positive effects of healthy wetlands for humans, the theme of this year’s World Wetlands ...

Bulgaria, Romania create protected wetlands for birds

April 16, 2013

Bulgaria and Romania on Tuesday signed a deal to set up three wetland areas along their joint 470-kilometre (290-mile) Danube border, protecting pelicans, herons, pygmy cormorants and other birds, the environment ministry ...

Image: Colours of Borneo

December 12, 2014

This image from Japan's ALOS satellite was captured over part of southern Borneo, an island in Southeast Asia.

Recommended for you

Paleontologists report world's biggest Tyrannosaurus rex

March 22, 2019

University of Alberta paleontologists have just reported the world's biggest Tyrannosaurus rex and the largest dinosaur skeleton ever found in Canada. The 13-metre-long T. rex, nicknamed "Scotty," lived in prehistoric Saskatchewan ...

NASA instruments image fireball over Bering Sea

March 22, 2019

On Dec. 18, 2018, a large "fireball—the term used for exceptionally bright meteors that are visible over a wide area—exploded about 16 miles (26 kilometers) above the Bering Sea. The explosion unleashed an estimated 173 ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.