Posted on July 11th, 2017

Our Changing Landscape – 2017 California Super Bloom

In this monthly feature, we span the globe to examine Our Changing Landscape with time series of medium resolution RapidEye satellite imagery. The RapidEye archive dates back to late 2008 and already contains more than 10 billion square kilometers of data. Last month we explored a North Korean tourist destination for this Our Changing Landscape, and in July we check out the California 2017 super bloom in the southern part of this American state.

The RapidEye Constellation

RapidEye is a constellation of five 5-meter medium resolution satellites each offering five spectral bands of information. The RapidEye constellation offers daily revisits to every location on the planet with a huge footprint that is 77-km wide. The data is priced competitively with a starting cost of $1.28 per square kilometer for all five spectral bands – academics do receive discounts. RapidEye adds a fifth band, the red edge, to the ‘traditional’ multispectral set of blue, green, red and near-infrared (NIR). The additional spectral data in the red edge band allows users to extract more useful land ‘information’ than can be from traditional 4-band imagery sources. When RapidEye imagery is ordered as a Level 3A Orthorectified product, images from multiple dates are extremely well registered, making it the ideal data source for Our Changing Landscape.

2017 California Super Bloom

Click on the image above to see an animation of 5-meter natural color RapidEye imagery collected over the California super bloom in Carrizo Plain National Monument on February 28, March 27 and May 25, 2017. First off, an apologies for the clouds in these images but timing was crucial so we had to make do with what was in the archive. But even with a few clouds, you can see just how quickly the colors and vegetation in this region change as in just a matter of two months after the super bloom, the region looks much the same as it is did before the heavy rains. Would have loved to seen this super bloom with my own eyes! (Images Courtesy: Planet @ 2017)

After years and years of one of the most extreme droughts in recorded history, southern California was pounded with rain in early 2017, with some areas seeing as much moisture in just six months as they would see in an entire year. And with these very welcomed and much-needed rains, came one of the most intense and gorgeous flower blooms in recent years – in fact, it was so intense that the flowering event has been dubbed the 2017 California super bloom.

According to many reports, one of the most colorful areas was Carrizo Plain National Monument in southern California. It appears that the super bloom reached peak colors in mid to late April depending on the exact location in the park. Carrizo Plain National Monument covers about 391 square miles (1,103 square kilometers) of some of the most pristine land left in southern California. The park is home to a wide array of animals, such as the bald eagle, the giant kangaroo rat and the Townsend’s big-eared bat, and then a number of flowering plants, such as the grass blazingstar, the Byron larkspur and the forked fiddleneck. Now without further ado, it is time to check out the amazing colors in the 5-meter RapidEye archive – can’t wait to see them!

If you would like to find out more about using RapidEye for your academic studies, engineering projects or any landscape analysis, let us know at or (303) 993-3863.

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