Image: Flevoland, the Netherlands' giant land reclamation project
The Copernicus Sentinel-1 mission takes us over part of the Dutch province of Flevoland—the newest province in the Netherlands and one of the largest land reclamation projects in the world.
With almost a third of the country lying below sea level, the Netherlands is famously known as a "low country," and has a long history of land reclamation.
One reclamation project resulted in Flevoland. After a major flood it was decided to tame the Zuiderzee, a large, shallow inlet of the North Sea, to improve flood protection and also create additional land for agricultural use.
The project entailed the creation of land known as polders. The "Noordoostpolder," or the Northeast polder is the focus of this image. Over the years, the region has developed to become a home to a modern and innovative agricultural industry. The province produces predominantly apples, cereals, potatoes and flowers—with each colorful patch in the image representing a different crop.
This image combines three radar acquisitions from the Copernicus Sentinel-1 mission taken about two months apart to show change in crop and land conditions over time. The first image from 8 May 2018 is associated with red, the second from 7 July depicts changes in green, and the third from 5 September has been linked to blue.
Along the dikes of the Ijsselmeer, west of the Noordoostpolder, lies one of the largest wind farms in the Netherlands. The strong, almost star-shaped, reflections that can be seen near the shore are around 86 wind turbines. The wind farm is said to generate approximately 1.4 billion kWh of clean renewable energy per year—comparable to the power consumption of over 400 000 households.
Images acquired with radar are interpreted by studying the intensity of the backscatter radar signal, which is related to the roughness of the ground. Cities and towns are visible in white owing to the stronger reflection of the signal. Emmeloord can be seen in the center of the Noordoostpolder, as well as several farms that appear as bright white dots along the roads.