The Mississippi swamplands are recorded in this Sentinel-2A “colour vision” image as part of the European Space Agency’s the Earth from Space video program.
It captures part of the Mississippi swamps on the east and west banks of the Mississippi River, south of New Orleans and north of the Mississippi Delta.
These types of false colour images are used for purposes ranging from from agricultural monitoring to charting changing lands. In this image, the red colour scattered throughout the image shows the enormous amount of vegetation in the area, while the grey represents the bodies of water.
Close to the heart of the snake-like Mississippi River, the image clearly shows the typical French-style fields, with rows of sugar cane, around the towns of Lucy, Edgard and Wallace. On the east bank of the Mississippi lie the towns of LaPlace, Reserve, Lions, Garyville and Mount Airy, each with industries along the river, including a chemical plant, sugar refinery, grain elevators and an oil refinery.
Bayous are scattered all over the image. A bayou is a Franco-English term for an extremely slow-moving stream or river, marshy lake or wetland. They are commonly found in the Mississippi River Delta, famous within the states of Louisiana and Texas. Though fauna varies by region, many bayous are home to crawfish, certain species of shrimp, other shellfish, catfish, frogs, toads, American alligators and crocodiles, and the alligator snapping turtle.
Towards the upper left part of the image, under the many clouds, lies Baton Rouge, the capital of Louisiana and its second-largest city.
Sentinel-2A has been in orbit since 23 June, with its multispectral camera supplying optical images of Earth’s land and water bodies. It provides imagery of vegetation, soil and water cover, inland waterways and coastal areas
Bill Condie is a science journalist based in Adelaide, Australia.
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